This time last year, we were getting drawn in to the drama of the FIFA World Cup and tracking down the best places to catch the action as it unfolded in Russia. Now, we are on the brink of another World Cup, and this one is taking place right on our doorsteps.

England will be welcoming the nine other top cricket playing nations of the world. These will include traditional top teams like Australia, India and the West Indies, as well as new and exciting pretenders for the crown such as Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The sound of leather on willow is a traditional part of the English summer, but the coloured clothes, fast action and razzmatazz of the one-day game have brought it to a whole new audience. Perhaps it’s about time you discovered the excitement of the Cricket World Cup.

Tournament format

Unlike the football equivalent, the teams are not divided into groups. All ten teams will play one another once, meaning there will be 45 round-robin matches in total. At the end of this, the four teams at the top of the table will take part in the knockout stage, with the first-placed team playing the fourth, and the second playing the third in the semi finals.

The first match will be on 30 May, when the hosts get things underway at The Oval in South London on 30 May. The final will, of course, be played at Lord’s Cricket Ground and will take place on 14 July.

Who are the favourites?

A world cup brings out the hidden gambler in all of us, and as was the case with Russia 2018 in the football, there will be plenty of bets placed online before and during the cricket World Cup. But who will people be backing? Australia have won more cricket World Cups than any other team, and are the defending champions. However, while online bookmakers like Betfred are confident they will  make the knockout rounds, they have them at longer odds than both England and India.

In part, this is due to internal strife within the team over the past year. Two of Australia’s biggest stars have just completed a one-year ban for cheating, and while their return will make the team stronger, there are unanswered questions as to how their exile will have affected their game.

England are the top-ranked ODI team in the world at present, which along with their home advantage makes them the bookmakers’ favourites at 2/1. However, despite having reached three World Cup finals, it is a tournament that England have never won. Pressure will be immense in front of a home crowd, and it could be hard to withstand on the sport’s biggest stage.

The other top team to watch out for is India. Here’s a country that loves its cricket like no other, and when the team won the 2011 World Cup on home soil, the entire nation came to a standstill in celebration. India has been something of a bogey team for England in recent years, particularly in this format of the game. The large Indian community in cities like Birmingham also means that they will have vocal and passionate support that will make many of the fixtures feel almost like playing at home.