By Atul Chavan - 11:48 AM

Sourav Ganguly : 

Sourav Ganguly played in three World Cups – 1999, 2003 and 2007, and led India to the final of the 2003 edition, hitting three centuries in the tournament, including a ton in the semifinal against Kenya. He scored heavily, particularly in the 1999 and 2003 editions, ending with 1006 runs across 22 matches at 55.88.

Best Performance? 183 against Sri Lanka, the defending champion, in a league match in 1999, which remains India’s highest individual score in a World Cup.

Virender Sehwag : 

Virender Sehwag played in World Cup matches like he did everywhere else – with a freedom few can match and an attack mode that sent viewers into raptures. He was part of the Indian side that reached the 2003 final and one of the key men when the title was won in 2011, including a breathtaking opening against Bangladesh and a furious assault in the semifinal against Pakistan.

Best Performance? 175 in the 2011 tournament opener against Bangladesh.

Sachin Tendulkar :  

Amongst the greatest batsmen in history, Sachin Tendulkar raised his game further on the biggest stage as an average of 56.95 across six World Cups from 1992 to 2011 suggests. The 2278 runs he made are far and away the most by an individual, and he was the event’s highest run-getter in 1996 and 2003, with a winner’s medal in 2011 to complete a cherished dream.

Best Performance? 98 off 75 against Pakistan in 2003 in a high-pressure league match.

Kumar Sangakkara (WK) : 

Classy and effortless, Kumar Sangakkara is nine runs away from becoming the third Sri Lankan with 1000 tournament runs before the start of the 2015 World Cup. With 46 dismissals behind the stumps in four editions, he is seven short of replacing Adam Gilchrist as the leading World Cup wicketkeeper. A team man through and through, he captained Sri Lanka to the 2011 World Cup final.

Best performance? A match-winning 111 against New Zealand in 2011.

Yuvraj Singh :  

Seldom does a cricketer become synonymous with a World Cup, but that’s what happened with Yuvraj Singh in 2011, when India won the title on home ground. Yuvraj emerged as the man for all seasons for India, scoring four half-centuries, a century and picking up 15 wickets, including two each in the semi-final and final.

Best Performance? 2/44 & 57* v Australia in the 2011 quarter-final that ended the three-time defending champion’s reign.

Shahid Afridi : 

Shahid Afridi’s international arrival with a world-record 37-ball century earned him the monker ‘boom boom’, but he’s proved to be equally devastating with the ball. He has played 20 matches over four World Cups, scoring 209 runs and taking 28 wickets – 21 of which came from eight matches in 2011 alone, at an average of 12.85, to be the joint highest wicket-taker that year.

Best performance? 4/30 in Pakistan’s ten-wicket victory against the West Indies in the 2011 quarterfinal.

Steve Waugh (C):  

Batsman, medium pacer, captain extraordinaire and master of the mental game – Steve Waugh was an all-rounder in more ways than one. Waugh played four World Cups, winning in 1987 and 1999, the last one as captain.

 Best Performance? 120* v South Africa in 1999, Waugh’s highest ODI score and an innings of far-reaching consequence because it meant that thanks to victory in the league match, Australia went through to the final after a tied semifinal against South Africa.

Anil Kumble : 

Anil Kumble is a regular in the record books, especially in Tests, where he went on to captain his country, but the leg-spinner was as effective for India in ODIs. At his peak in 1996, when he played the first of his 18 World Cup matches across three editions, he was the leading wicket-taker of the tournament, and the man India turned to at nearly every major moment.

Best Performance? 4 for 32 against the Netherlands in 2003.

Lasith Malinga :  

Bouncers and yorkers, both with slow and fast variations, all sent across with an action that led to the man being referred to as Slinga Malinga – that’s the Sri Lankan paceman in a nutshell. Malinga averaged 17.87 with 31 wickets in 15 games over two World Cups – with Sri Lanka finishing runners-up in both 2007 and 2011.

Best Performance? 4 for 54 against South Africa in 2007 in which, incredibly enough, all four scalps came off four consecutive balls.

Brett Lee : 

In the 2003 World Cup, Brett Lee became the first Australian and fourth bowler to take a World Cup hat-trick. He also crossed the 160 kph mark twice in the tournament. He’s been part of two World Cups – 2003 and 2011, missing out in 2007 due to injury – and picked up 35 wickets in 17 games at 17.97. In 2011, he picked up the most wickets for Australia.

Best Performance?  5 for 42 vs New Zealand in 2003.

Glenn McGrath :  

One of the greatest fast bowlers of all time, Glenn McGrath’s calling card wasn’t glamorous – strict line and length – but he was devastating, and made a habit of getting the big wickets. Over four World Cups, he took 71 wickets in 39 matches, the most anyone has. He battled injuries, but he returned with a record 26 wickets in 2007, and was adjudged Man of the Tournament.

 Best Performance? 7 for 15 against a hapless Namibia in 2003.







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