In its lead up this World Cup was billed as one for the batters, where the pursuit of the first 500 total was on everyone’s minds. In a neat twist in its tale it is the bowlers, and specifically the quicks, who are taking the headlines in its early stages.
Australia’s Mitchell Starc leads the speed-gun table, clocking in at 94mph against Afghanistan on Saturday. Quick, literally, on his heels however is Jofra Archer at 93mph, followed swiftly by Starc’s compatriot Pat Cummins, the West Indies’ Oshane Thomas and New Zealand’s Lockie Ferguson, all bowling upward of 91mph.
“I’ll be honest it’s nice to follow the fast bowlers around the world, it’s an exciting part of the game,” Ferguson said, on the rivalry between fast bowlers. “Just like leg-spin bowler who can turn it both ways, it’s an X-factor part of the game.”
“Of course it’s nice to see other fast bowlers bowling quick and there is a little bit of rivalry there in parts,” concedes Ferguson, before adding, “but it’s not like I’m watching every ball and comparing myself!”
Short, sharp bursts of searing speed are one thing but in a tournament in which all 10 teams play nine games each before the knockout stages, consistency, and injury-avoidance, will be key. That’s where Ferguson is unparalleled.