Who will win the World Cup?

Might England beat away competition from India and Australia to win their first 50-over title? Getty Images

Who will win the World Cup?

Sambit Bal, editor-in-chief
India have best bowling and England have the best batting, but Australia might sneak it again. They are peaking at the right time, and at the World Cup, they will pick their best bowling unit, which has decent spin options. I'm tipping Glenn Maxwell to fire in the slog overs.

George Dobell, senior correspondent
I have this recurring fear that in this much-hyped "summer of cricket", Australia could spoil England's party by going home with the Ashes and the World Cup. But England really do look strong, and if they are ever going to do it, it is going to have to be now. India are also dangerous.

Melinda Farrell, reporter
England. We're all dooming them, aren't we? India have the best bowling attack (Australia and New Zealand aren't rubbish, either), but England are a better side than they were in the 2017 Champions Trophy.

Andrew Fidel Fernando, Sri Lanka correspondent
India. England may have a more impressive batting order, but as we found out in the 2017 Champions Trophy, bowling is vital to winning big tournaments as well. And India have the most dynamic attack around.

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Nagraj Gollapudi, deputy editor
Australia. In big tournaments, big finals, Australia somehow find their mojo. There are enough hungry players in that squad - David Warner, Steven Smith, Maxwell, Pat Cummins - who can perform well under pressure.

Mohammad Isam, Bangladesh correspondent
England's transformation into this big-scoring side certainly makes them dangerous, especially at home. India and New Zealand have the tools to do well in English conditions too.

Jarrod Kimber, writer
England should be favourites. They may find a hilarious way to lose, but few teams have ever been this dominant between World Cups without winning. Which will make it even funnier if they do lose.

Andrew Miller, UK editor
England. Their batting is currently on another planet. Their bowling has depth to mitigate leakiness, and an injection of class in Jofra Archer.

Sidharth Monga, assistant editor
India. They have the best bowling attack; just need Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav to do okay as the fifth bowler.

Osman Samiuddin, senior editor
England (which really means that there is no chance they will actually win it). A once-in-a-generation freak batting order has come together. Their bowling is serviceable - in that if they score 450, they will concede about 400. Jofra Archer being in the squad makes a difference.

Sharda Ugra, senior editor
West Indies.

Who's your dark-horse pick for the tournament?

Bal: South Africa. They have the bowling, and no one expects them to win this time.

Dobell: West Indies don't appear to have much death bowling, but they could chase down any target on their day. New Zealand have a really good, well balanced side.

Farrell: I want to say Pakistan, just because of how they trolled us all two years ago, but I'm going with New Zealand, sneaking up on the outside.

Fernando: New Zealand. Apart from their wonderful bowling, they have a solid middle order and are continually at the cutting edge of fielding standards.

Gollapudi: South Africa. They have suffered enough.

Isam: The inclusion of some of their most experienced cricketers will make West Indies stronger, and if their bowling clicks, top sides won't be able to afford to take their eye off the ball against Jason Holder's men.

Kimber: Australia went about two years without winning more than a handful of ODIs, and they are Australia, so they still have a chance of winning because of national birthright. And they have, in recent times, looked like an ODI team again. They might be the lightest dark horse in history, but they are certainly not favourites.

Miller: India... no, I'm kidding. West Indies have the six-hitters to batter any team into submission.

Monga: New Zealand. Flying totally under the radar, but they have a good bowling attack too

Samiuddin: New Zealand. As always solid, but have a really, really good pace attack this time round.

Ugra: Bangladesh.

Who will be the Player of the Tournament?

Bal: Jos Buttler. In ODIs, he is AB de Villiers 2.0.

Dobell: Jos Buttler.

Farrell: Jos Buttler. The freak.

Fernando: Virat Kohli. Already the best batsman on show at the World Cup, expect him to rack up a few centuries on the highways that seem to pass for ODI pitches in England.

Gollapudi: Shikhar Dhawan. He was the best batsman in the last two editions of the Champions Trophy, both played in England. He's the only left-hander in the Indian batting line-up and will be a vital cog if he can get powerful starts and a good partnership with opening partner Rohit Sharma, who could be also a contender.

Isam: Virat Kohli or Adil Rashid, the highest run getter and wicket-taker since the 2015 World Cup, must be front-runners. But given how the pitches are expected to be, a good fast-bowling performance throughout the tournament should be rewarded. Mitchell Starc, the Man of the Tournament from the previous World Cup, is therefore my front-runner.

Kimber: Someone else will say Rashid Khan, so I'm flipping it - literally - and going for Kuldeep Yadav. My theory is, no one can play left-arm wristspin because there are no left-arm wristspinners in the world. Kuldeep has bowled 63% of all deliveries bowled by his breed in the last two years. And he has also taken 87 wickets in the last two years at an average of 21. He could be on course for a 30-wicket World Cup if India make the final - and India should make the final.

Miller: Jos Buttler has the range of strokes and the run of form to do something extraordinary.

Monga: Jasprit Bumrah. He's the best white-ball bowler going around.

Samiuddin: Jos Buttler

Ugra: Ben Stokes

Who will be the breakout young talent to emerge from the World Cup?

Bal: Rashid Khan. Afghanistan will spring a couple of surprises, and Rashid is likely to be at the heart of them.

Dobell: There are so many options. Jofra Archer is exciting. So too is Shimron Hetmyer. And while Rashid Khan and Kagiso Rabada are young, nobody is going to be surprised if they have brilliant tournaments. But though neither is especially young, I'm really looking forward to seeing Lockie Ferguson, who is fast and fun, and Sabbir Rahman, who I thought would have been a superstar by now.

Farrell: Jofra Archer. A huge opportunity for an exciting bowler.

Fernando: Lungi Ngidi. Not quite as fast as Rabada, but accurate, and frequently penetrative.

Gollapudi: Kagiso Rabada. The pace, the brain, the talent, the youth - he has it all, and if he can capture the intensity of the one-on-one battles he made his name with in Test cricket, he could set this World Cup aflame.

Isam: There are very surprises left in international cricket these days, but the story of Jofra Archer, if he does perform well, will be a beautiful one.

Kimber: Nicholas Pooran is more firework than human. It has taken him a couple of years longer to work out his game than he'd like. In the last two years of T20 cricket, he has averaged over 35 while striking at over 150. I wouldn't expect many long innings, but given he swings so madly from ball one, you wouldn't want to miss many.

Miller: I won't be surprised, but Mujeeb Ur Rahman can expect to turn a few heads on the world stage.

Monga: Nobody should surprise you at such a restricted World Cup, but Shimron Hetmyer is one of the lesser accomplished players I expect to light up the World Cup.

Samiuddin: Oshane Thomas

Ugra: Kuldeep Yadav

Which game are you looking forward to the most, and why?

Bal: England v India. Brute batting v gun bowling.

Dobell: Any of the games in Taunton or Trent Bridge. If a team is going to make 500 in this tournament, I expect it'll be at one of those grounds.

Farrell: England v India. Massive contest in front of the noisiest crowd. And it's at my home ground, Edgbaston.

Fernando: India v Pakistan. Surely it's past time we got a good World Cup match out of this massively hyped encounter.

Gollapudi: No brainer - England v India. There are so many match-ups that are mouth-watering.

Isam: It has to be England v India at Edgbaston on June 30, for the fight between two dominant batting units as well as two of the most skilled bowling attacks.

Kimber: Rashid Khan versus all the teams that haven't had to face him much in ODI cricket. So that's Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa. In the last couple of years he has done better when bowling against teams that have qualified for this World Cup than the teams that haven't.

Miller: Australia v West Indies at Trent Bridge. The 500-run scorecards might have been printed with this contest in mind.

Monga: India v Australia. Cummins v Bumrah. Two of the best.

Samiuddin: England-India. Simple - one of the best bowling attacks up against the best batting side.

Ugra: India v Pakistan, of course.

What's the one thing are you most looking forward to, on or off the field?

Bal: Wristspinners versus giant hitters.

Dobell: We often say the sport needs a strong Pakistan or a strong West Indies and that's true. But it needs a strong England too, and I hope this summer provides a chance for the nation to get behind their cricket team and revive interest in the game. Cricket is in danger of becoming a niche sport in England. It will be great to see it take centre stage for once.

Farrell: As corny as this may sound, catching up with colleagues and friends from all around the world. They provide both the fun and the support network.

Fernando: Low-scoring thrillers. Can we please, please get a few to keep it interesting?

Gollapudi: Images that will stick forever. And a final on July 14 that goes to the last ball. (And a Roger-Rafa final at Wimbledon happening in parallel.)

Isam: How the ICC, media and fans react to a mankading dismissal if any bowler dares to smash that beehive.

Kimber: The bit where people moan about how it's only a ten-team World Cup before going on to just watch the tournament.

Miller: The sort of carnival atmosphere that accompanied the 1999 World Cup, without the hosts passing out down a side street before things get properly lively.

Monga: Afghanistan v Ireland. Great rivalry: 13-13 on head to head. Mostly played without the world taking note. Oh well.

Samiuddin: Legspinners. All of them.

Ugra: The game's global fans and their equal music. Also, Brexit jokes and sticky toffee pudding.