In every sport, some skilful individuals reach the highest level with their passion and hard work. Their inspirational stories help youngsters in pursuing their interests. Thereafter these budding talents try to follow their idol’s footsteps and spread the same magic. Similarly in the cricketing world, some of the players have become role-models for future generations.
Even in modern-day cricket, certain players have followed their cricketing heroes. It might be their idol’s journey or story which helped these current generation stars to pick the game. They may not have the same style and aura of their icons. However, it has worked in their favour as they have found success in their professional life.
Here is the list of 10 cricketers and their cricketing idols:
1) Steve Smith – Ricky Ponting
A couple of weeks ago Kangaroos retained the urn on English soil after 17 long years. Not only it led the resurgence of Australian cricket it also completed the redemption of their hero, Steve Smith. The right-hander made a perfect comeback by piling over 750 runs in just 8 innings. Even after remaining inactive for a year he returned to the No.1 position in Test rankings in less than a month.
Smith may be a controversial character but nobody can question his batting prowess. His Bradmanesque run in the classic format is a fairytale of the modern-day cricket. It seems he has taken a leaf out of Ricky Ponting’s book who also happens to be his cricketing idol. In his prime, the former Australian skipper churned out international centuries on sale.
Punter had the knack of scoring runs whenever the team was in troubled waters and it is a quality which Smith has inherited from him. Another thing which he has learned from his countryman is to always keep the team interests ahead of his own. On top of that, he made his ODI and Test debut under Ponting’s supervision. Recently Steve received praise from his childhood hero for his Ashes heroics and it must have given him great satisfaction.
2) Virat Kohli – Sachin Tendulkar
Its high time that the ICC should ban Virat Kohli for making the professional sport look like a child’s play. Such has been his consistency that even the net bowling machines are looking for cover. Keeping the jokes aside, it can be said that with this pace he is going to break every possible batting record. Right now, he is the only international batsman whose batting average is above 50 in all the formats.
The Indian captain has already achieved some remarkable feats and he is just 30 years old. Nowadays he is leading the country to great heights with his leadership skills. It is amazing to see his undying passion for the game which has brought him closer to his role-model, Sachin Tendulkar. The God of cricket doesn’t need any introduction as his batting records speak for himself.
In a career spanning over 25 years, the Little Master became the giant of world cricket. Many times he has single-handedly won games for the country and now Kohli is emulating him. He is always looking to improve his game which is similar to Tendulkar’s hunger for success. In difficult situations, he has sought the help of his hero. Especially after his disastrous 2014 England tour Sachin’s words of wisdom did wonders and since then he has turned into a run-machine.
3) Kagiso Rabada – Dale Steyn
At the moment, the cricketer who can bring back the glory days to the South African cricket is none other than Kagiso Rabada. He is a special talent as he can make things happen out of nowhere. He is also one of the few bowlers who can easily adjust to different formats. At 24, he is already leading the bowling department of Proteas.
What separates KG from the rest is his immense self-belief as he never backs down from challenges. In a short amount of time Rabada has turned into a bowling sensation with his wicket-taking abilities. He is expected to rule the cricketing world like his idol Dale Steyn. It was a sight to behold when he operated at full throttle in the classic format.
With close to 450 wickets in 93 Tests, Steyn Gun became one of the deadly weapons in the history of the game. He used to make the best of the batsmen dance to his tunes and so can Rabada. The youngster has admitted that he admires Dale’s line and length stuff. He is fortunate enough to share the dressing room with him in the initial days of his international career and it might have been a dream come true for him.
4) Jofra Archer – Craig Kieswetter
A fast bowler running in and peppering the batsman with the short ball never gets old but to floor the No.1 ranked batsman with the same tactics is an achievement. Yes, Jofra Archer did it in the 2019 Ashes and has made his intentions very clear early in his career. The speedster is the breakout star of this year. With his talent, he is going to be a superstar in the upcoming times.
It’s quite astonishing to see how quickly Archer has adapted to the pressure of the international arena. In short a simple bowling action, strong temperament, and versatile skillset makes him a complete package. He has made some interesting choices in his life including his pick of Craig Kieswetter as his role-model. The keeper-batsman played an important role when England won the 2010 T20 championship.
Though he has not generated mind-boggling numbers his cricketing journey is an inspirational one. Following his dreams, the South African migrated to England and became an integral part of the Brits for a couple of years. Jofra’s story is similar as he left the island nation to follow his passion and now he is a centrally contracted English player. According to him, Craig’s Man of the Match performance in the 2010 final inspired him and he was in the stands during the knock. Now he dons jersey number 22 in his honour.
5) Rashid Khan – Shahid Afridi
Recently when Afghanistan left the Bangladesh soil with a Test match win, it showed their growth in the international circuit. Much of the credit should go to their newly appointed skipper, Rashid Khan who bagged 11 wickets in the game. The leg-spinner has firmly put the Asian team on the cricketing map. With his sheer determination, he has already taken giant strides in his professional life.
He has been delivering game-changing spells on a loop and his craft has attracted a lot of admirers. The leggie has become one of the leading bowlers across formats. His career graph has a striking similarity with Shahid Afridi’s career as both of them enjoyed a booming start. The Pakistan all-rounder has always been a crowd favourite and Rashid is one of his die-hard fans.
He is considered as a big match player and has invariably led the side to monumental victories. Though Afridi had his share of ups and downs his telling contributions to Pakistan cricket remained constant which even influenced the Afghan prodigy. As per Rashid, Shahid’s explosive batting excited him. He wanted to emulate him and entertain the audience in the best possible way. Of late he is hitting sixes and fours like his idol.
6) Hardik Pandya – Irfan Pathan
Since his debut, Hardik Pandya has played a crucial role in getting the required balance in the Indian squad. His presence has helped the side field more winning combinations and that’s why in the last couple of years the team has started winning games on foreign soil. With each passing day, he is taking his game to the next level. Even in the 2019 World Cup his stocks kept rising as he reveled in each role.
He is a cricketer who can change the tempo of the game with his mere presence on the field. Also, Hardik is a quick learner as his numbers are improving all the time. As admitted by him he likes to contribute to the side in every possible way and it became a habit after watching Irfan Pathan in action. The Baroda cricketer is one of the finest fast bowling all-rounders the country has seen.
In his prime, he charmed the audience with his new-ball skills and hitting abilities. Especially nobody can forget his match-defining performance in the 2007 WT20 final. During those days Pandya brothers played for the Baroda team and Irfan used to guide them. Pathan even presented a bat to Hardik Pandya in a practice game. Hardik followed the footsteps of his childhood hero and has thanked him for all his support.
7) Pat Cummins – Brett Lee
In every decade the Australian cricket team has been blessed with quality pace bowling options. In the current scenario, Pat Cummins is one of them and it can be validated from his gallantry efforts in 2019 Ashes. He took a total of 29 wickets in 5 Test matches and finished on top of the mountain by bagging the No.1 spot in the ICC bowler rankings. Within a year he has become the leader of the pack.
It is very refreshing to see Cummins running in and bowling hundreds of overs without getting injured. He is one of the rare bowlers who never compromised his pace even after being troubled by a series of injuries. He likes to get let off the steam on the opposition batsmen and he might have learned it from his cricketing idol, Brett Lee. The speedster is a strike force who terrorized his opponents with his raw pace.
Lee’s aggressive bowling and ripping bouncers are part of cricket folklore. He is known for his fiery spells and the same is the case with Cummins who likes to tease the batsmen with chin music. Both of them have played for the same domestic team, New South Wales. It can be noted that Pat regularly sledges the batting side coupled with a grin, a style developed by Lee. He has revealed that he has tried to copy Lee’s chainsaw celebrations in his teenage days.
8) Jos Buttler – AB De Villiers
Very few cricketers can play free-flowing strokes even when the side is under the pump and Jos Buttler’s name is present in that elite panel. The keeper-batsman is one of the players who changed the fortunes of Brits in the limited-overs format. He can play shots all-round the park and his power-hitting is difficult to match. He has given nightmares to quality bowling attacks.
Though he is known for his white-ball skills he has got a good defensive technique which is evident from his Test career. He remains calm and composed in the most challenging circumstances. The right-hander likes to counter-attack and it is a characteristic also associated with AB De Villiers. The South African is loved by the entire cricketing community including Jos who loves to watch him bat.
De Villiers is considered as a true genius because of his ability to play his natural game in the most trying conditions. He has awed the fans with his 360 Degree game, particularly Buttler who has admitted of keenly following his work. Then he tried to add some shots to his repertoire which helped him become a good finisher. Thereafter comparisons between him and ABD started making rounds and the Englishman will be proud of that part.
9) Avishkha Fernando – Mahela Jayawardene
It may not be the best time for the supporters of Sri Lankan cricket. Still, there are a lot of promising youngsters in that side which is good news for them. Among all the one who has the potential to become the next big thing in the international arena is Avishkha Fernando. The 21-year old is the only positive for the Lankan Lions from their distressing 2019 World Cup campaign.
If given enough opportunities he can create some ripples in the history books. Fernando’s batting is not only about runs, but it is also the timing and elegance with which he plays shots. After hearing this it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his cricketing hero is Mahela Jayawardene. The former Lankan skipper is one of the purest batting gems to have played the game.
For more than a decade Mahela piled on runs and helped the island nation secure memorable wins. He was an artist who used his willow as a paintbrush to stroke cover drives. Likewise, Avishkha also plays his cricketing shots with grace and poise. It would have been a proud moment for him when Jayawardene stated that he is the spark that the country needs to reverse their fortunes.
10) Jason Holder – Curtly Ambrose
West Indies cricket has been home to some of the most intimidating fast bowlers. They usually scare their opponents with their pace and bounce, unlike Jason Holder who relies on a completely different skillset. Still, he has been mighty effective in his trade as he claimed 33 wickets at an average 12.30 in 2018, best bowling average recorded in whites in over 100 years. Particularly his new-ball skills are worth watching.
Even in his batting, he has been making useful contributions. In all, he is an underrated cricketer who has kept the West Indies side floating in these tough times. Holder always gives his 100% on the field and it is similar to the dedication shown by his idol, Curtly Ambrose in his playing days. The legendary fast bowler has a special place in the hearts of cricket fans.
He bowled several match-winning spells at a time when the country’s cricket was on a downslide. He defied all the odds to take the team to great heights and from that, it can be said that Curtly is a true servant of the Caribbean land. It seems Jason is following the footsteps of his countryman as he is trying to get the West Indies Cricket back on track. A couple of years ago Ambrose worked with the team as the bowling coach and Holder might have benefitted from his presence.
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