The ICC World Cup 2019 in England and Wales, which started in style on May 30, looks like an even more promising affair after the first few matches. In the 15-player squads that they have chosen, most of the 10 participating teams have tried to strike a balance between the spirit and agility of the youth and experience of the old. However, if you watch closely, you observe what each team has seen as more important for the overall quality of its game. While some have chosen to lay stress on experience to see them through in this tough tournament, others have put their money behind fresh talent to make their game more exciting.
The last date to make changes to squads was May 23, and some teams used this window and made last-minute changes. Pakistan, which was initially the youngest side by average age of players, for instance, brought in experienced pacers Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz. Similarly, England finally made young Jofra Archer a member of their squad.
Since the 50-over format of cricket demands more fitness — both of mind and on the field — it will be interesting to see how the players perform in the mega event as it progresses.
Here is a look at how the teams stack up in terms of the average age of their members:
5 oldest teams by average age
South Africa (30): With 40-year-old Imran Tahir in the squad, the Proteas are one of the oldest sides in ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Skipper Faf du Plessis is 34 years old, while Hashim Amla (36), JP Duminy (35), Dale Steyn (35) are some of the oldest members of the team.
Sri Lanka (29.9): Sri Lanka have the second-oldest squad in the tournament, with 29.9 years as the average of players. Jeevan Mendis (36), the oldest member of the squad, is followed by veteran pacer Lasith Malinga (35).
Australia (29.8): The five-time World Champions and also the defending champions, Australia have the third-oldest squad in this World Cup, with six of their players, including skipper Aaron Finch, aged over 30 years. Shaun Marsh (35), the oldest member of the squad, is followed by Finch (32), Usman Khawaja (32) and David Warner (32).
India (29.5): With the 38-year-old former captain MS Dhoni playing, India are one of the older sides in this World Cup, with 29.5 years as their average age. Kedar Jadhav (34), Dinesh Karthik (33), and Shikhar Dhawan (33) are some of the oldest members of the side.
New Zealand (29): While Ish Sodhi (26) is the youngest in the Kiwi side, the squad has five players who are 27 years old (Tom Latham, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Henry Nicholls, and Mitchell Santner). The black caps are the fifth-oldest side in the World Cup 2019.
5 youngest teams by the average age
Afghanistan (26.5): While 18-year-old Mujeeb Ur Rahman is one of the youngest playest in the World Cup this year, Afghanistan are the youngest side. Among other young players in the side are the talented spinner Rashid Khan (20) and Hazratullah Zazai (21).
Bangladesh (27.4): Bangladesh usually rely on young blood in World Cups, and it is hardly different this time. They are the joint-youngest team, along with Afghanistan. They have a couple of 22-year-olds in Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Mohammad Saifuddin, and as many 23-year-olds (Mosaddek Hossain and Mustafizur Rahman).
Pakistan (27.5): After bringing back experienced pacers Amir and Riaz, Pakistan are now the third-youngest squad, with their average age at 27.4 years. The experienced Shoaib Malik (37), their oldest player, is followed by Riaz (33). Among the youngest members of the squad are 19-year-old pacers Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain. They are followed by Shadab Khan (20).
West Indies (28): The youngest players in West Indies are Shimron Hetmyer and Oshane Thomas (both 22). They are followed by Nicholas Pooran (23) and Fabian Allen (24). The colourful Caribbean side is the fourth-youngest in this World Cup.
England (28.8): The hosts, considered one of the favourites for winning the 2019 World Cup, also seem to be the greatest balance between youth and experience. Placed in the middle of the 10 participating teams in terms of average age, they are the fifth youngest (sixth oldest). While the new addition to the team, Jofra Archer, is 24, most of the English players are aged around 30. Liam Plunkett (34), the oldest member of the squad, is followed by Joe Denly (33) and skipper Eoin Morgan (32).