5 Key Players battling fitness issues ahead of the 2023 CWC

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Wanindu Hasaranga was ruled out of the Asia Cup

As the highly anticipated 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup is arching closer, the enthusiasm of cricket fans is also skyrocketing with every single passing day. A few teams such as England and India have already announced their squad for the upcoming cricket megafest while a majority of teams are yet to come forward with their 15-men team. 

As England will be defending their crown in the 13th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup against the likes of home hope, India and other nations such as Australia, Pakistan and more will surely look forward to dethroning the Poms. However, in the fast-moving pre-world Cup period, a few key players are currently battling fitness issues to find a spot in the playing XI of the tournament. 

Hence, without further delay, let’s take a look at the five key players who are currently battling fitness issues ahead of the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup. 

#5 Glenn Maxwell 

The Australian cricket team suffered a major blow after Glenn Maxwell was recently ruled out of the ongoing Australia tour of South Africa due to an ankle injury. The all-rounder was going to play in the three-match T20I series against the Proteas, but he was sidelined due to the Injury. Consequently, the 34-year-old was already going to depart after the 3-match series because of the birth of his first child. 

According to the initial scans and reports, it’s been stated that the Australian all-rounder will be making his return for the Kangaroos before the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup. Over the years, Maxwell has been an important figure in the Australian lineup because of his consistency and reliability for the national team. In addition to that, he also marks the column of experience for the Aussies in the upcoming mega event of cricket. 

The 34-year-old has played a total of 18 matches in the ICC World Cup and has scored a total of 501 runs. In addition to the runs, he has also picked up six wickets, fulfilling the role of a part-time bowler. Australia already announced their preliminary World Cup squad in August, which included the name of Glenn Maxwell.

#4 KL Rahul

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KL Rahul is currently recovering from the thigh injury he suffered during the IPL

KL Rahul’s name in the 15-member squad of India for the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup has raised a lot of eyebrows. The Karnataka batsman was the captain of Lucknow Super Giants in the 2023 Indian Premier League but his campaign in the competition ended early after the 31-year-old sustained a thigh injury in May during a match against Royal Challengers Bangalore while fielding.

Despite being injured, he came to bat in the match at the last position. In August, he was named in the Asia Cup campaign by the All-India Senior Selection Committee. However, despite the Men in Blue advancing to the Super Four phase of the Asia Cup, his return date to the squad has not been finalized. 

Before getting injured in the IPL, KL Rahul was in brilliant form for the Indian cricket team. In the three-match ODI series against Australia, which took place earlier this year in March, Rahul exhibited his astounding ability to help the team in clutch situations. He helped the Men in Blue win the first match of the series with his 75-run unbeaten knock at Wankhede stadium after the team was at 39/4. 

In addition to that, he acquires the versatility to play as an opening batsman and also to add depth to the squad by coming to bat in the 5th position. In the last edition of the ICC World Cup, he scored a total of 360 runs for the Men in Blue, with an average of 45 and his highest score was 110. 

#3 Kane Williamson

Kane Williamson is expected to be named the skipper of the Blackcaps in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup. However, doubts about the 33-year-old returning to full fitness are still present. Williamson also played a key role for the New Zealand cricket team in the 2019 ICC World Cup, where he was crowned the Player of the Tournament. He scored a total of 578 runs for the Blackcaps in the campaign at an incredible average of 82. 

However, a lot of things have changed since 2019, especially the retirement of veterans such as Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor. Hence, to add experience to New Zealand’s side, the presence of Williamson is of utmost importance. 

The 33-year-old sustained a gruesome injury in the opening match of IPL 2023, where he ruptured his right knee’s anterior cruciate ligament while trying to catch the ball on the boundary line. In April, it was expected that Williamson would be ruled out of the 2023 World Cup. In his absence, Tom Latham and Tim Southee captained the Blackcaps throughout the year. 

Consequently, according to a new report presented by New Zealand’s head coach, Gary Stead, the 33-year-old will be making his comeback in the cricket mega-event as the skipper but he can potentially miss a couple of initial matches in the tournament, which will be played against England and the Netherlands. 

#2 Steve Smith 

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Steve Smith suffered a wrist injury during the Ashes

After Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith is another experienced batter who is currently on the injury list for the Aussies. The former Australian captain got injured during the second Ashes Test at Lords in July as he suffered a tendon injury on his left wrist while batting. According to a report by Cricket Australia, Smith is out for four weeks. 

After missing Australia’s tour of South Africa in his recovery tenure, Smith is expected to make his comeback in the ODI series against India before the ICC World Cup. The Kangaroos will play a three-match ODI series against India, which will start on September 22 at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium. 

Also Read: Australia clean sweeps South Africa in the T20I series: Player Ratings for the Visitors

In 2023, Smith has been in great form and his absence can hinder Australia’s chances of adding another title to their trophy cabinet. Moreover, Smith has been playing with an average of 59 in ODIs since 2020 and has also scored four centuries. 

The 34-year-old has played 19 matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup accumulating a total of 834 runs. The list of injuries has been extended for the Kangaroos as their ace fast bowler, Mitchell Starc has also been recovering from a wrist fracture that he sustained during the Ashes.

#1 Wanindu Hasaranga

Wanindu Hasaranga gave one of the most memorable individual performances in the history of cricket in the 2023 Lanka Premier League. B-Love Kandy’s skipper, Hasaranga was also crowned as the player of the tournament in the 2023 Lanka Premier League for his blistering efforts. 

The bowling all-rounder scored 279 runs in the tournament and also took 19 wickets in the campaign. Interestingly, he was the highest scorer as well as the highest wicket-taker in the competition. However, after the tournament, the spinner, who is one of the biggest names in the world of cricket currently, got ruled out of the Asia Cup. 

It was later revealed that Hasaranga and Dushamantha Chameera (who was also ruled out of the Asia Cup) picked up the injuries in the LPL. The 26-year-old right-arm leg break has been the lynchpin for Sri Lanka in all formats of cricket in the last couple of years. 

Consequently, Hasaranga also took the most wickets (22) in the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier that took place in Zimbabwe and helped Sri Lanka book a berth in the main tournament. 

Hence, Chris Silverwood will be hoping that the 26-year-old positively makes his comeback before the Lions announce their 15-men squad for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup. In the absence of the bowling all-rounder, Dasun Shanaka’s Sri Lanka started their Asai Cup campaign with a five-wicket win over Bangladesh and made it to the Super Four Stage after surviving a scare against Afghanistan in the second group fixture.