World Cup Legends: The ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, scheduled to take place in India, is just around the corner, creating significant anticipation among cricket enthusiasts. With the tournament set to be held in familiar subcontinent conditions, the Indian cricket team is poised to face intense scrutiny. The legacies of esteemed veterans like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Ravichandran Ashwin, who are entering their third or fourth World Cup in their mid to late 30s, will be determined during this competition. Fans are hoping for stellar performances from these experienced players in their home conditions, with the ultimate goal of lifting the coveted trophy. On the other hand, young and promising talents such as Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, and Mohammed Siraj will be making their World Cup debut, adding an element of excitement to the tournament.
World Cup Legends
Over the course of the next month and a half, numerous cricketing legends will etch their names in the annals of history, while emerging stars will catapult themselves into superstardom. The fine line between creating history and facing disappointment often hinges on a single remarkable batting performance, a game-changing bowling spell, or an extraordinary piece of fielding. This trend has persisted for years in this prestigious event. As the tournament approaches, let’s take a closer look at some of the Indian cricketing stars who have left an indelible mark on the World Cup with their exceptional performances:
The Indian batting maestro stands as the leading run-scorer in the history of the World Cup. Over the course of 45 matches and 44 innings, he amassed a total of 2,278 runs at an impressive average of 56.95 and a striking strike rate of 88.98. Tendulkar recorded six centuries and 15 half-centuries during his World Cup career, achieving a personal best score of 152. His record of the most centuries in World Cup history further solidifies his legacy. Tendulkar also secured the highest run tally in the 1996 and 2003 editions of the tournament, amassing 523 runs and 673 runs respectively. His 673-run performance in 2003 remains the highest individual run total in a single World Cup edition.
Virat Kohli, often considered the torchbearer of Sachin Tendulkar’s legacy, has maintained remarkable consistency, delightful stroke play, and an emotional connection with millions of fans. Much is expected from Kohli in this tournament, whether it involves surpassing Sachin’s record of 49 ODI centuries, showcasing his prowess as a masterful chase artist, or breaking the “knockouts curse” with a match-winning performance, especially in front of his home crowd. In his 26 World Cup matches, Kohli has accumulated 1,030 runs at an average of 46.81 and a strike rate of 86.70. He boasts two centuries and six half-centuries in 26 innings, with a best score of 107, making him India’s second-highest run-scorer in World Cup history.
Fondly known as ‘Dada,’ this legendary left-handed batsman left an indelible mark in World Cups with his exceptional captaincy and graceful, effortless off-side strokes. In 21 World Cup matches, Ganguly amassed 1,006 runs at an impressive average of 55.58, which included four centuries and three half-centuries in 21 innings. His highest individual score in the tournament stands at 183. Ganguly remains India’s third-highest run-scorer in World Cup history.
Dubbed the ‘Hitman’ of Team India, Rohit Sharma has consistently delivered outstanding performances against opponents. He has played a pivotal role in India’s World Cup campaigns, particularly in the 2019 edition when he emerged as the leading run-scorer and became the only player to achieve five centuries in a single World Cup. In his 17 World Cup matches, Rohit Sharma has amassed 978 runs at an impressive average of 65.20 and a striking strike rate of 95.97. His World Cup record includes six centuries and three half-centuries in 17 innings, with a top score of 140. His remarkable tally of 648 runs, featuring five centuries and a half-century in just nine games during the 2019 World Cup, is widely regarded as one of the best performances in a global cricket tournament.
The absence of India’s left-arm pacer, Zaheer Khan, has been deeply felt, as he brought significant variation to the team’s bowling attack. In his 23 World Cup matches, Zaheer Khan claimed 44 wickets at an impressive average of 20.22, with his best bowling figures being 4/42. He played a pivotal role in India’s triumphant 2011 World Cup campaign and finished as the joint-highest wicket-taker with 21 scalps. Zaheer Khan remains India’s highest wicket-taker in World Cup history and holds the sixth position overall.
Javagal Srinath, a key figure in India’s fast-bowling department alongside the likes of Venkatesh Prasad and Zaheer Khan, consistently delivered strong performances in World Cups. In 34 matches, Srinath secured 44 wickets at an average of 27.81, with his best bowling figures of 4/30 in World Cups. He played a crucial role in India’s runner-up finish in the 2003 World Cup, claiming 16 scalps in 11 matches. Srinath is India’s second-highest wicket-taker in World Cups and shares the sixth position overall.
Having made his World Cup debut in 2015, Mohammed Shami has emerged as one of India’s top performers in the tournament. In just 11 matches, he has taken 31 wickets at an impressive average of 15.70, with his best bowling figures of 5/69. Shami is only the second Indian bowler to achieve a World Cup hat-trick. His exceptional seam position, pace, and intensity make him a formidable bowler to contend with.
Anil Kumble, the tall spinner, ranks among the most successful spinners in World Cup history. Over the course of 18 matches, he secured 31 wickets at an average of 22.83, with his best bowling figures standing at 4/32.