World Cup 2019: The oldest, the youngest and the most experienced team
Though Afghanistan feature high on the experience chart, they have the youngest squad among all teams featuring in the World Cup 2019
If there’s one team that has played the maximum number of ODIs in the 21st century, it has to be India. And though the young players have been getting breaks since the Dhoni-era, it’s the experienced campaigners that have mostly been preferred in the World Cup squad.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (oops, almost wrote ‘Baahubali’ after his first name), the man who brought home the World Cup after 34 years, is playing his fourth WC. He is 2019’s most experienced player, having played 341 One-Day Internationals (ODIs).
In fact, India tops the chart for the squad with most collective experience with 1,573 ODIs. There are three players who have played more than 200 matches and six with more than a hundred match experience.
Even Vijay Shankar, who has played only nine ODI matches, has more experience than some squad players in other teams who have played the least number of matches.
But hey, this doesn’t give a true picture. Even the average will not give you the whole picture since there would be some players with huge experience while the others would be novices. Therefore, a median number of games played—the average of ODIs played by the seventh and the eighth most experienced player—would give a better sense.
England have more experienced campaigners going into the World Cup. They began rebuilding their team post the 2015 World Cup debacle, where they failed to beat any Test-playing nations, but their core has largely remained the same.
Australia are the underdogs this time around. The Kangaroos have lifted the trophy four times in the past five editions of the tournament, and won all the eight ODIs prior. There may be a new-look about Australia in 2019, but the aura remains the same.
It’s a first World Cup for Afghanistan but they actually have quite an experienced side, with nine players with 50-plus ODI caps and a median experience of 56 games. South Africa and India are the second and third-most experienced sides.
It’s a World Cup debut for Kiwi wicket-keeper batsman Tom Blundell. Other greenhorn players include Windies wicket-keeper batsman Nicholas Pooran (1) and Bangladeshi medium-pacer Abu Jayed (2); English bowlers Jofra Archer and Liam Dawson have played three matches each.
Sri Lanka, who announced their squad on April 18th, saw some players making comebacks and others like Lasith Malinga who are nearing the end of their careers. It tops the chart with an average squad age of 30.43.
Only one of the 150 players across all squads is on the other side of 40—Imran Tahir, the leggie. Joining him on the field will be the other Proteas’ veterans Hashim Amla (36), Dale Steyn (36), JP Duminy (35) and Faf du Plessis (34).
Seven of the 15-men Indian team is more than 30. Hence, it’s no surprise that their average age is exactly that.
The Aussies, meanwhile, might seem low on experience but their average squad age is close to 30—five players are more than 30 years old and four age between 29 and 30.
Windies’ Chris Gayle is 114 days short of 40; Dhoni is 38 days short of his 38th birthday; and Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik is 37 years and 118 days old.
Pakistan has three of the five youngest players—Shaheen Afridi (19), Mohamed Hasnain (19) and Shadab Khan (20).
And though Afghanistan feature high on the experience chart, they have the youngest squad among all teams. The 18-year-old off-break bowler Mujeeb Ur Rahman is the youngest player in the 2019 World Cup.