The 2023 Cricket World Cup has arrived!

From 5 October to 19 November, the 10 best teams will do battle for the elusive ICC trophy, with a total of 48 matches taking place across India.

Jos Buttler's England are the defending champions following their thrilling heroics four years ago at Lord's, but they'll have to contend with a formidable host nation with India firm favourites to delight a rowdy and passionate crowd.

For the Proteas, who are fourth on the ICC ODI rankings, the pressure is off with few expecting Temba Bavuma's charges to mount a title challenge. Star batter Quinton de Kock will hang up his one-day gloves following the global showpiece, and the Proteas will hope that an on-song David Miller, Heinrich Klassen and Kagiso Rabada will contribute and fire in India.

News24 will be bringing you all the action, with our man on the ground, Heinz Schenk, providing live updates and covering all developments from India.

We'll also have expert analysis from our experienced writing team of Simnikiwe Xabanisa, Lloyd Burnard, Rob Houwing, Khanyiso Tshwaku and Lynn Butler.

Go Proteas!

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🔴 LIVE | CWC 2023: All the latest from India

Your LIVE hub for all news, team announcements and results coming out of Cricket World Cup 2023.

Team profiles

The Afghans have arguably reached the stage where their superb progression to official ODI status now needs to start translating into positive results at the World Cup … against the best. They've been on the circuit for some time now and boast some excellent players, notably the irrepressible Rashid Khan. He spearheads a potent spin attack that should find traction in Indian conditions, which also includes another T20 league star in Mujeeb Ur Rahman and veteran Mohammad Nabi. 38-year-old Nabi’s presence is a huge bonus as he’s still the one Afghan stroke-maker capable of tearing attacks apart, particularly at the death. The recall of seamer Naveen-Ul-Haq perhaps suggests a lack of potency among the quicker men, but don't be surprised if this side experiences a breakout campaign.

Their recent struggles against the Proteas and India in the build-up somewhat predictably, led to some observers wondering whether their challenge will be as strong as it claims to be. How will their semi-injured stars - Steve Smith is currently relying on cortisone injections to use his wrist - stay fit enough? And yet the Aussies have made a living out of being written off … sort of. They are the World Cup's most successful team ever (5 titles) and dominated in 2003 and 2007, but it's worth mentioning too that their titles in 1987 and 1999 were somewhat unexpected. It means they have the enviable trait of believing they can win when others don’t as well as fully embracing a favourites tag if it's anointed to them. Pat Cummins leads a squad that doesn't appear to have many flaws and boasts much variety, but they are prone to losing concentration... They remain an eminently good bet for glory.

The Tigers remain fickle. When they're on a roll, they're a pretty tough side to beat and are also prone to moments of inspiration - just ask the Proteas in 2007 and 2019. They have a band of seamers who should be relatively well versed in how to deal with Indian pitches with nuance and have also selected wily spinners with a penchant for pressuring opposition batters into stroke-lessness or ill-advised aggression. The presence of their one world-class talisman, Shakib Al Hasan, is huge. However, they still have batters who are, on their day, fine stroke-makers, but they are bedevilled by inconsistency as well as the inability to truly be brutal to the bowler they face. Their build-up has also been messy following a know well-documented spat between accomplished opener Tamim Iqbal, who has retired, and Shakib, then going on national television to call him selfish. Drama is always around the corner with this team...

Say what you want, the defending champions' time-honored template in the limited overs format remains a winner and is also an acknowledgement that they understand and embrace their one limitation: a world-class bowling attack. Mark Wood's pace adds some hot sauce to a stock-standard mayo of skilled, if underwhelming seamers, while it's positively intriguing that they've opted for a rookie in Gus Atkinson who has to transfer his T20 pedigree into the 50-overs format (he's only played 5 List A matches to date). There's also a lot of responsibility on Adil Rashid's shoulders as the only true specialist spinner in the team. Yet if there are some longstanding question marks over their bowling, it shouldn't matter much if you assemble a batting order that invariably gets you over the 350-plus mark, which almost automatically compensates for any problems with the ball. Ben Stokes' U-turn from retirement in the format is also massive, especially if his knees are strong enough to fulfil a role with the ball. They might not quite have the legs for glory, but they'll be fun to watch

There's little to quibble about when it comes to the potency of the hosts' squad: it's packed with power. India's batting will always be packed with punch and the blend between proven stalwarts and the gifted understudies waiting to take over from them is envious. Virar Kohli and skipper Rohit Sharma headline their ammunition in that regard, while the freakish Suryakumar Yadav will be an immense threat if he can belatedly replicate his T20 exploits in the 50-over format. Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill are all still approaching their primes and will be keen to illustrate that they represent India’s prosperous present and future. There are also no balance issues with a band of all-rounders being present, notably vice-captain Hardik Pandya. But it’s the return of Jasprit Bumrah that elevates the side’s overall product from brilliant to positively dreamy. Interestingly - like the Proteas - their spin arsenal are all left-armers. Detractors will point out that India has proven to be chokers of sorts in ICC tournaments lately, though it must be kept in mind that the last World Cup title they did win was, you guessed it, on home soil…

The Proteas' slayers in last year's T20 World Cup go to India on the back of a qualification campaign in Zimbabwe that proved vital in adding a new, if belated string to their bow: more dynamic batting. For years the men in orange banked on a plucky and varied band of bowlers to keep themselves in matches and even run some big guns close. But their excursion to southern Africa in July – where they had to make do without a few stars – saw them bat with newfound attacking intent that really could make them awkward opponents. They are led by a hardworking, humble captain in Scott Edwards and can call upon some classy stroke-makers in Colin Ackermann, Teja Nidamanuru and Virkamjit Singh along with gutsy all-rounders in the SA-born duo of SJ Engelbrecht and Roelof van der Merwe. Their battery of seamers are decent without being particularly explosive and might lack a bit of high-class support for Van der Merwe in the spinning ranks.

Any discerning cricket watcher would not fall into the trap of believing the Black Caps are underpowered for the 2023 edition. Similarly to the Proteas, they arguably have a squad that's not quite sure of the heights they might be able to scale, but the difference is they'll invariably give it a crack and believe. Their attack is far from youthful, yet there's a distinct feeling that Trent Boult's mercenary status has revitalised him for one last crack at glory and Tim Southee's return from a finger injury is timely. Much like England's Mark Wood, Lockie Ferguson boasts the priceless asset of pace. Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi are good foils to each other as tweakers. The class of Kane Williamson in the batting order is undeniable even though his match-fitness will take a game or two to catch up, but most importantly, they have a middle-order of Glenn Phillips, Daryl Mitchell and Mark Chapman that looks understated yet has some latent hitting power. Comfortable not being cheery underdogs anymore, the Kiwis look set to prosper again.

To quote Forest Gump: Pakistan are like a box of chocolates. There simply isn't a more mercurial team in international cricket, one capable of conjuring the sweetest, awe-inspiring poetry on the field before plumbing inconceivable depths within the blink of an eye. Babar Azam, their skipper and batting ace, has the added responsibility of having to keep a cool head around a team with an unwanted spotlight shining on it because of political circumstances out of their control. Throughout the build-up, Pakistan have had to shoulder the blame for India's logistical challenges in hosting some of their games, predominantly because of security concerns and their warm-ups in Covid-19-esque circumstances because no fans were allowed to the same reservations. But there's no doubt a focused outfit can go far in this tournament. There's an imposing and now experienced pace attack led by Shaheen Shah Afridi, while they've also clearly banked on the insurance policy of a band of spinning all-rounders, who literally each bowl a different variety.

It's not immediately apparent, but this is one of the more fascinating Proteas line-ups to emerge for a World Cup. As much as team management have kept the prep for the tournament low-key (definitely helped by the Springboks hogging attention), a closer inspection of their resources suggests that this is a squad that actually might be underestimating what they truly are capable of. South Africa's best XI – so to speak – now has vast experience in Indian conditions and should have more than enough nous to navigate the diverse challenges of playing all around the country. That said, the Proteas' key weapon is a dangerous top six, one that can even claim to be one of the world's best when it's firing on all cylinders. The problem is there's not a bridge between that band of stroke-makers and a settled, if somewhat underwhelming bowling attack. Marco Jansen has the potential to become a batting fulcrum at No 7, but can he do the job when he needs to bat 25 overs coming in at 100/5? Anrich Nortje and Sisanda Magala's injuries deprive them of bowlers who actively make things happen, requiring Kagiso Rabada to really step up and remind all of his world-class pedigree. The form of spin twins Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi though could be a boon, but this team can't start slowly as a whole.

Chris Silverwood's troops did well to win the qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe a few months ago, suggesting even that a team with a proud World Cup record isn't as underpowered as some detractors argue. They have a decent arsenal of batters, attractive stroke-makers with an ability to methodically build good totals. The caveat though is getting them to do that consistently – too many of them have averages hovering in high 20s and low 30s, illustrating a penchant for blowing hot and cold. It would be disappointing if that happens often as the Sri Lankans can lay claim to having some of the most fascinating bowlers on the world stage. Maheesh Theekshana is a throwback to the days of mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis, while 20-year-old Matheesha Pathirana has a somewhat more inelegant slinging action reminiscent of Lasith Malinga. But they've lost a key man in leggie Wanindu Hasaranga as well as reliable seamer Dusmantha Chameera to injury, while another trio of Lahiru Kumara, Dilshan Madushanka and Theekshana are recovering from injuries. It leaves a fine balance for them getting it right.

The Proteas

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Design and production: Kelly Anderson, Lynn Butler
Words: Heinz Schenk