We could do the same Kohli, de Villiers, Johnson list as everyone else or we could pick out 10 players who you’ll actually have to make some effort to watch.
So, in no particular order…
40 years old and ostensibly a plodder, Misbah recently matched Viv Richards’ record for fastest Test hundred. He was also an unusually accomplished finisher back in the 2007 T20 World Cup. Averages 42.99 in one-day internationals (ODIs) without even once having made a hundred. Being as he’s from Pakistan, we fully expect him to win the World Cup by scoring five on the bounce.
James Tredwell, England
Will he play? Probably not, but here’s why he should.
Mohammad Hafeez, Pakistan
At present, he isn’t allowed to bowl, but he’s due to have his action tested later this week. If he passes, brace yourself for some Tredders-style inexplicably economical bowling. If he fails, maybe his batting will improve beyond measure for no clear reason.
Rangana Herath, Sri Lanka
Most of the best spinners are banned or pseudo-banned and finger spin has traditionally always been a brand of cannon fodder Down Under, so let’s pick three conventional spin bowlers in a row. Herath is mint. That’s all there is to it.
More finger spin, but a bit of batting as well. Shakib’s been site pet for almost a decade now so we couldn’t leave him out. He’s currently ranked the 34th best one-day batsman in the world and the sixth best bowler, but strangely, most cricket fans still don’t really know who he is. Here’s hoping he puts everyone straight over the next few weeks.
Quinton de Kock, South Africa
Have you seen this picture? Why is his head so tiny? South Africa have a fairly classy, adaptable batting line-up, but de Kock is the one-note drone that kicks things off. He throws the bat in somewhat guileless but effective fashion. There’s definitely a place for that.
Daniel Vettori, New Zealand
Still playing cricket even though he moves like an 80-year-old whose bones are made of lead. Vettori has had a weird twilight to his career inhabiting some sort of semi-injured limbo. But he’s back. In five matches this year, he’s taken one wicket and that was Shahid Afridi holing out. It therefore makes perfect sense to include yet another conventional spinner who probably won’t have an enormous impact.
Samiullah Shenwari and Mohammad Nabi, Afghanistan
Included together because they’re similar players – effective middle to lower order batsmen who also bowl effective, reasonably economical spin. Nabi bowls off breaks and is therefore perfectly at home in this article. Shenwari bowls legspin and possesses a face which says ‘I can handle myself. Try me, I jeffing dare you.’ Only it doesn’t say it in English, it says it in Pashto.
Glenn Maxwell, Australia
A bit obvious, but come on – you’ve got to watch. People think he’s exciting because he scores hundreds off eight or nine balls, but his real selling point is his glorious unpredictability. He’ll try and reverse cut a bouncer for a single. He’ll turn backwards and try and play a ramp-style slap back over the bowler’s head. He’ll run down the pitch and leave a ball which then hits the stumps.
If you enjoy the boring middle overs of watchful consolidation/keeping it relatively tight, then THESE ARE THE PLAYERS FOR YOU (plus a couple of others).