With normal service resumed after humiliating England in the NatWest Series, the defending champions are back on top of their game after losing the Ashes Test series.
New players have fitted in seamlessly, with wicketkeeper Tim Paine slotting in at the top of the order alongside the rejuvenated Shane Watson.
Batsman Callum Ferguson has shades of Michael Bevan about him, with the ability to score quickly in the middle order, while the lusty hitting of Cameron White and James Hopes means Andrew Symonds’ presence isn’t missed as much as it might have been.
Free from the injuries which wrecked his Ashes campaign, Brett Lee is back doing what he does best – bowling fast – while Nathan Bracken’s assortment of cutters and seamers are getting more difficult to dispatch.
Six hitters: Cameron White, Mitchell Johnson, James Hopes
Death bowler extraordinaire: Nathan Bracken
Toe-cruncher: Brett Lee
Best fielder: Michael Clarke
Who are you?: Adam Voges (right-hand bat from Western Australia with two one-day caps)
Squad: Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Nathan Bracken, Callum Ferguson, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Hopes, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Tim Paine (wk), Peter Siddle, Adam Voges, Shane Watson, Cameron White.
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Mahendra Singh Dhoni
After the ignominy of a first-round exit at the World Twenty20, India cannot afford another slip-up in South Africa.
Injuries have denied India the explosive power of Virender Sehwag at the top of the order and the guile of seamer Zaheer Khan. Both will be huge losses as they look to recapture the title they shared with Sri Lanka in 2002.
However, they have the top two ranked batsmen in the world, Mahendra Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh, along with Sachin Tendulkar, scorer of 44 one-day centuries and counting, along with the recalled Rahul Dravid and the immensely talented Suresh Raina.
Fast bowler Ishant Sharma’s Test form has not quite translated to the limited overs format, while Ashish Nehra, RP Singh and Praveen Kumar will be expected to step up in Zaheer’s absence.
Six hitters: Mahendra Dhoni, Yusuf Pathan, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh
Death bowler extraordinaire: Harbhajan Singh, RP Singh
Toe-cruncher: Ishant Sharma
Best fielder: Suresh Raina
Who are you?: Abhishek Nayar (Batting all-rounder yet to bat or bowl for India despite boasting two one-day caps)
Squad: Mahendra Dhoni (capt), Yuvraj Singh, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra, RP Singh, Ishant Sharma, Dinesh Karthik, Praveen Kumar, Amit Mishra, Abhishek Nayar.
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Denied the opportunity of playing the tournament on home soil, all of Pakistan will be hoping for a unique double following their seismic victory in the World Twenty20 in June.
Since then, they have lost a five-match one-day series against Sri Lanka, but Pakistan’s selectors have largely kept faith with the squad which took them to success in England.
Captain Younus Khan has the best – and most diverse – bowling attack in the competition at his disposal; the raw pace of Mohammad Amir and Umar Gul, the cunning spin of Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal with the control of Mohammad Asif, back after serving a one-year drugs ban.
The batting is equally as talented, but has the tendency to self-destruct at the most inconvenient of times, so the likes of skipper Younus, Misbah-ul-Haq and Shoaib Malik will be expected to drop anchor while the big hitters go ballistic around them.
Six hitters: Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq, Kamran Akmal
Death bowler extraordinaire: Mohammad Amir
Toe-cruncher: Umar Gul
Best fielder: Younus Khan
Who are you?: Umar Akmal (Younger brother of wicketkeeper Kamran who scored a one-day hundred in only this third international for Pakistan)
Squad: Younus Khan (capt), Imran Nazir, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Fawad Alam, Mohammad Yousuf, Kamran Akmal (wk), Umar Gul, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif, Rao Iftikhar, Saeed Ajmal.
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With the West Indian Cricket Board and its players no closer to ending its dispute with striking players over pay, the Caribbean nations will be without the stellar Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul or Fidel Edwards.
Instead they will be led by Floyd Reifer, who captained the side to a 2-0 Test series defeat by Bangladesh, not to mention a 3-0 one-day thrashing, in July. It’s that dire.
Of the current squad, fast bowler Kevin McClean and off-spinner Royston Crandon have no international experience, but that doesn’t really say much.
Expect further lows in South Africa.
Six hitters: Andre Fletcher
Death bowler extraordinaire: Darren Sammy
Toe-cruncher: Tino Best
Best fielder: Devon Smith
Who are you?: Take your pick
Squad: Floyd Reifer (capt), David Bernard, Tino Best, Royston Crandon, Travis Dowlin, Andre Fletcher, Kevin McClean, Nikita Miller, Kieran Powell, Dale Richards, Kemar Roach, Darren Sammy, Devon Smith, Gavin Tonge, Chadwick Walton (wk).
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Following an embarrassing 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Australia in the NatWest Series, England are in dire need of one-day redemption.
And without injured duo Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen, it’s difficult to see that happening in South Africa.
Continual team changes and injuries have not helped England’s cause, but Andrew Strauss’s side desperately need results to convince a sceptical public they are a worthy one-day nation.
The seeds of potential are there – Adil Rashid’s leg-spin impressed in the World Twenty20 while Joe Denly’s lusty top-order hitting can give England what they have desperately been missing since Marcus Trescothick’s retirement.
Six hitters: Eoin Morgan, Luke Wright
Death bowler extraordinaire: Ryan Sidebottom
Toe-cruncher: Let me get back to you
Best fielder: Paul Collingwood
Who are you?: Joe Denly (right-handed opener with the ability to hit over the top in the powerplay overs)
Squad: Andrew Strauss (capt), James Anderson, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Joe Denly, Eoin Morgan, Graham Onions, Matt Prior (wk), Adil Rashid, Owais Shah, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright.
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New Zealand have traditionally been stronger in one-day cricket than Tests – but winning the Champions Trophy (in its former guise as the ICC Knock Out) in 2000 still represents the high point of their limited-overs endeavours.
Daniel Vettori’s side have had a mixed 2009 – drawing a one-day series in Australia but losing to India. They reached the Super Eight stage of the World Twenty20 but despite winning both Twenty20 internationals in Sri Lanka, were beaten by both the hosts and India in the triangular ODI series that followed.
However, they have powerful hitters at the top of the order in Brendon McCullum and Jesse Ryder, plus the classy Ross Taylor, while seamer Kyle Mills and canny left-arm spinner Vettori are both in the top three bowlers in the ICC’s ODI rankings.
Shane Bond, their only bowler of genuine pace, is back in international cricket after an Indian Cricket League-related spell in the wilderness – and coach Andy Moles will hope he can be the missing piece in the jigsaw to help them compete with the favourites.
Six hitters: Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill, Jesse Ryder, Jacob Oram
Death bowler extraordinaire: Kyle Mills
Toe-cruncher: Shane Bond
Best fielder: Ross Taylor
Who are you?: Brendon Diamanti (Bowling all-rounder with the ability to clear the ropes coming in lower down the order)Squad: Daniel Vettori (capt), Shane Bond, Neil Broom, Ian Butler, Brendon Diamanti, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Gareth Hopkins (wk), Brendon McCullum (wk), Kyle Mills, Jacob Oram, Jeetan Patel, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor, Daryl Tuffey.
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Hosts South Africa surged to the top of the ICC’s one-day rankings earlier this year after beating Australia in home and away series, while they showed their one-day credentials again by winning their first five games of the World Twenty20 before falling narrowly to eventual winners Pakistan in the semi-final.
It is difficult to find a weak link in their line-up – the experience of Graeme Smith, Herschelle Gibbs and Jacques Kallis at the top of the order preceding the younger talents of AB de Villiers and JP Duminy, while all-rounder Albie Morkel hits the ball further than most other cricketers in the world.
The speedy Dale Steyn anchors the pace attack alongside the emerging left-arm seamer Wayne Parnell, who showed an uncanny ability to bowl yorkers at the death in the World Twenty20. Their spin options feature the steady Johan Botha and emerging left-armer Roelof van der Merwe.
But the Proteas have one of the best fielding sides around – it takes a brave man to dab a quick single to an inner ring containing De Villiers, Gibbs and Duminy.
Six hitters: Albie Morkel, AB de Villiers, Herschelle Gibbs
Death bowler extraordinaire: Wayne Parnell
Toe-cruncher: Dale Steyn, Wayne Parnell
Best fielder: AB de Villiers
Who are you?: Lonwabo Tsotsobe (Left-arm seamer with the ability to swing the ball, has a single one-day international to his name)
Squad: Graeme Smith (capt), Johan Botha, Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher (wk), AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Albie Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Roelof van der Merwe.
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Sri Lanka have been perennially effective battlers in one-day cricket since their storming victory at the 1996 World Cup – but despite reaching a number of ICC finals, the elusive big trophy (their joint effort with India in 2002 doesn’t really count) has been just out of grasp.
Innovative opener Tillakaratne Dilshan is ready to “Dilscoop” the ball over the keeper’s head while Sanath Jayasuriya continues to blast away at the other end despite reaching the age of 40. Together with new captain Kumar Sangakkara and his predecessor Mahela Jayawardene, they have arguably the best top four in the world.
Sri Lanka also have a tradition of uncovering unorthodox but eye-catchingly effective bowlers – with “carrom-ball” spinner Ajantha Mendis operating alongside veteran Muttiah Muralitharan, while Lasith “The Slinger” Malinga is close to unplayable on his day.
Age is not on the side of some of their star players, but if they can find a few more like Angelo Mathews – a powerful hitter, accurate seam bowler and sensational fielder – they have cause for optimism.
Six hitters: Sanath Jayasuriya, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Jehan Mubarak
Death bowler extraordinaire: Muttiah Muralitharan
Toe-cruncher: Lasith Malinga
Best fielder: Tillakaratne Dilshan
Who are you?: Dammika Prasad (Promising seamer with five one-day matches back after a back injury)
Squad: Kumar Sangakkara (capt), Muttiah Muralitharan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene, Upul Tharanga, Thilan Samaraweera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Angelo Mathews, Chamara Kapugedera, Thilina Kandamby, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Thushara, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dammika Prasad, Lasith Malinga