Dane van Niekerk
One of the biggest matchwinners in world cricket who can conjure magic with the bat, ball or in the field, van Niekerk was the leading wicket-taker in the previous edition of the tournament. She’ll miss the ongoing edition with an ankle injury and has missed out on a fair bit of cricket over the past 18 months with a spate of injuries.
She’s one of the most astute readers of the game and can also lay a solid claim to being the best captain in the international game currently. However, her wife, Marizanne Kapp, will be in action at the tournament for South Africa and will look to win the World Cup after winning The Hundred and the Women’s Big Bash League.
Of all the players who have missed out on the World Cup, Leigh Kasperek can lay a solid claim to being the most hard done by. Kasperek is among the top-ten wicket takers since the 2017 World Cup. Considering bowling is New Zealand’s weaker suit, Kasperek’s exclusion is even more bizarre.
Kasperek’s ability to outthink the batters and control the middle overs with Amelia Kerr was one of the positives for New Zealand even when they struggled over the last World Cup cycle. Kasperek’s omission came back to haunt them in their opening World Cup fixture against West Indies as well as they struggled to get breakthroughs in the middle order after getting a couple of wickets early.
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Shikha Pandey has often been guilty of inconsistency in the past, but she was one of India’s most successful bowlers over the last World Cup cycle, picking 30 wickets in 23 games at an impressive average of 25.60.
A routine bowler of unplayable balls, Pandey also has the ability to hit some lusty blows lower down the order and was a valuable part of the Indian team that made the final in the previous edition of the ODI World Cup in England in 2017. While Jhulan Goswami is the undisputed leader of the Indian attack, none of the other pace bowlers in the Indian team have a record as good as Pandey.
The prospect of Tayla Vlaeminck and Darcie Brown bowling in tandem for Australia seemed to be one of the headline acts at this year’s World Cup ever since the duo made everyone sit up and take notice with their impressive displays in the WBBL over the past few years.
While Brown will be in action at the World Cup, Vlaeminck will miss out due to a stress fracture of the navicular in her right foot. Vlaeminck had also missed out on the T20 World Cup in 2020 and suffered her fair share of injuries since then. Having been groomed specifically to overcome the lack of pace in Australia’s attack, Vlaeminck is a big loss for the team but they will count on Brown to deliver in her absence.
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Chamari Atapattu played one of the defining innings of the 2017 World Cup and is Sri Lanka’s best player by some distance. She generally tends to reserve her best for the biggest teams and is a colossus at the top of the order.
One of the most powerful strikers of the ball in the game, whenever Atapattu takes guard, entertainment and a lot of boundaries are bound to follow. With Sri Lanka barely playing any cricket post the pandemic, they slid down the world rankings and as a result missed out on qualifying for the ODI World Cup for the first time in almost 30 years, the previous edition they missed out on was 1993.