Even amid shifting norms, there is one thing that has stayed constant- the importance of youth in the world of cricket.
A lot has changed in the game of cricket in the last two decades or so. Not just in terms of the game or the manner in which it is played, but also in the sense of mushrooming domestic leagues, the advent of the shorter formats, and the perpetually rising competition. There has been a lot happening around cricket as well as in it.
Newer formats have left their colour on the older ones. The definition of a good bowler has changed over the years. So has the meaning of a good batsman. 9 and 10 runs per over have become a thing in cricket. The economy of 7 or 8 for a bowler, which might have been frowned upon earlier, have become acceptable today. Consistency and stability, and not simple talent, is what matters the most today.
Even amid these shifting norms, there is one thing that has stayed constant- the importance of youth in the world of cricket. In fact, the need for vibrant and young talent has only increased and we can agree that it has helped the game to prosper. Limited-over leagues from all around the world- be it Indian Premier League, Mzansi Super League, Caribbean Premier League, or the Pakistan Super League- have unearthed magnificent talents who translated themselves into promising players in other formats as well.
With the passage of time, dedicated events such as age-specific World Cups and tournaments, have given a platform to the new-age cricketers to rise up the ranks and show their mettle. And what better note than this to look at some of the finest young talents from all over the world who have made it big and will make it bigger in the times to come! The selection criterion is fairly simple as only the players who are under the age of 25 years have been chosen.
Let’s take a look at who makes the cut:
1. Prithvi Shaw
Call him the next-big-thing or the junior run machine, neither would be wrong. A precocious wunderkind from Mumbai, Prithvi Shaw grabbed the spotlight immediately when he piled a mammoth inning of 546 in a Harris Shield match in Mumbai at a tender age of 14.
A solid technique, immaculate footwork, fearless hitting, and a voracious appetite to score runs make him a befitting contender in the greats-in-the-making list. After scoring boatloads of runs in age-level and domestic cricket, he made a grand arrival at the big stage by playing a pivotal role in India’s 2018 Under-19 World Cup triumph.
In 33 List A encounters, Shaw has 1384 runs at an average of a shade under 42 with 7 half-centuries and 4 centuries to his name. The Mumbai player has played all of his 3 ODIs in the debut series against New Zealand earlier this year.
There was immense hustle around Imam when made his way in the Pakistani Under-19 national team. Being the nephew of arguably Pakistan’s finest batsman of all time Inzamam-ul-Haq, meant that a series of comparisons between his uncle and himself awaited him already. But even before his entry in the scene, many made a cry of nepotism against his candidature as his ‘celebrity uncle’ also happened to be the chief national selector.
Unmoved and unperturbed, Imam focused and attended the correct things as he chose to silence the criers by the wooden tool in his hand than a muscle in his mouth. Slamming a century on his ODI debut for Pakistan, he announced his arrival in sheer style. The bold southpaw is known for his subtle technique and ruthless spirit of batsman-ship.
In 69 List A outings, Imam has 2845 runs at 44.45. Whereas in 37 ODIs thus far, he has accumulated 1723 runs at a brilliant average of 53.84 with 6 half-centuries and 7 centuries under his belt.
3. Shubman Gill
Another tremendously talented top-order batsman, Gill is the most recent sensation in the Indian cricketing circuit. The right-handed player rose to fame when he scored 351 runs in Punjab’s Under-16 district tournament which was soon followed by a double century in what was his List A debut during the 2016 season of Vijay Hazare trophy.
The second-in-command after Prithvi Shaw in the 2018 Under-19 World Cup, he played a crucial role for the team during the entire tournament. Predominantly a strong bottom-handed player, the Punjab-born turned many heads as he amassed 418 runs at a Bradmenesque average of 104.50.
In 57 List A matches, he has scored 2280 runs at an average of 45.60 with 11 half-centuries and 6 centuries to his name. Though he has played only 2 ODIs so far, he is undeniably a shining prospect for Indian cricket in the times to come.
4. Rishabh Pant
At an age of just 22, Pant has made his name regular and known in Indian cricket. A flamboyant left-handed batsman, Pant came into national reckoning after his fabulous exploits for India in the 2016 Under-19 World Cup. His aggressive mindset, a knack of hitting unorthodox shots, and thoughtful innovation showed his depth despite his young age.
A small sized dynamo and an undeniably talented batsman by all standards of the modern era, Pant is often criticized for throwing away his wicket and playing rash shots. A few workable areas in his batting aside, he is a talented and energetic young batsman who is quite a good option with the gloves as well.
Pant has scored 1292 runs at 29.36 in 52 List A matches Pant has 7 half-centuries and a solitary century to his credit whereas 51 catches and 11 stumping as a keeper. In his rather young international career, he has played 16 ODIs for India.
5. Nicholas Pooran
An assiduous talent from the West Indies, Pooran has immense potential to solidify himself as a middle-order batsman. The Trinidad-born is known for his dashing left-handed batting and more than decent skills behind the wickets. Starting at an early age, Pooran managed a break at the age of 16, when he was signed for the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
He impressed enough with his skills to earn a place in the national Under-19 team in 2014. Representing his nation, Pooran performed exceptionally well as he finished with 303 runs in just 6 matches. After working hard at age-level cricket, he finally received a call for the senior national team in 2019, when he made his debut against Sri Lanka.
In 43 List A appearances, Pooran has 1424 runs at 43.15. He has featured in 25 ODIs thus far, where he has 932 runs at an impressive average of 49.05 and 7 half-centuries and one century.
6. Sam Curran
A third-generation cricketer, Sam Curran has been a jack-of-all-trades player for England. When he made his debut for Surrey aged 17, he became the second-youngest debutant for his county team. A left-arm medium-fast with a lean frame and the ability to swing the Dukes into the right-hander, Curran made an exciting start to his bowling career.
With the bat, he played with intent and positivity lower in the order to declare himself as a proper all-rounder. His performance with both bat and ball for his county team earned him a call for the nationals in 2018 for Tests and ODI.
Having played 53 List A matches, Curran has scored 604 runs. With the ball, he has 68 wickets to his name and he gets a wicket every 34th ball. He has featured in only 4 ODIs hitherto, however, he has surely made his place in the national team for the times to come.
7. Rashid Khan
His start and rise to international cricket was more challenging and fascinating than anyone else on the list. Hailing from a country that had an almost non-existent presence in the cricketing arena, Afghanistan, Rashid took the world by storm in 2015. Showing sheer belief in his capability he kept working hard for he knew it will pay off.
His country did not have well-defined domestic circuits to reach and display talent. Carving out a niche for himself, Rashid ensured to not give up and not find any excuses for the-then sorry state of cricket in his country. When he rose to fame deservedly, he kept banking on it and continued his labour. With his skill set of a treacherous leg-spinner, an agile fielder, and a handy pinch-hitter lower-down, he is a complete package.
Apart from scoring 905 runs in 71 ODIs, Rashid has bagged 133 wickets at a brilliant average of 18.54 and a miserly economy of 4.16. He strikes every 27th ball and has four fifers.
8. Mohammad Saifuddin
An inspired, young cricketer from the hinterlands of Bangladesh, Saifuddin is the golden combination of a seam-bowling all-rounder. His first prominent appearance came in the form of a place in Bangladesh’s Under-19 World Cup team of 2014.
He capitalized on the big moment in the Under-19 World Cup of 2016, where he bagged 13 wickets in 6 matches at 14.92 to finish as the leading wicket-taker for his side. His performance attracted the attention of the selectors as he broke into the national team in 2017. With his genuine medium-pace and ability to bat in the lower-order, he marked himself as a young and rising star of Bangladesh.
In 74 List A encounters, he has scalped 113 wickets at an average 27.13 and strike rate of 31.0. With the bat, he has 988 runs under his belt which includes 7 half-centuries. He has 31 international wickets for Bangladesh in 22 ODIs.
9. Lungi Ngidi
A robust right-arm fast bowler from South Africa, Ngidi is another promising prospect in the times to come. He has the ability to clock 140 kmph regularly, however, his fitness has been a constant issue. Ngidi began early as he had a penchant for playing cricket ever since his school days.
He featured in a South African Under-19 domestic league at the age of 18, before shifting from his remote home-town to the city of Pretoria. After spearheading franchise-based teams in certain leagues and showing his ability to bowl at the death, he was considered for a national spot in the T20 team in 2017 whereas for the ODI team the very next year. Ever since then, apart from his exits due to injuries, he has performed with consistency.
In 50 List A appearances, he has bagged 80 wickets at a decent average of 25.63. However, he betters his average in Internationals where, in 26 ODIs, he has taken 53 wickets at 21.50 and a strike rate of 23.2.
10. Jhye Richardson
Despite being discouraged by many to not try fast bowling due to his not-so-tall height and bulky body, Richardson did not lose confidence in his ability and silenced the naysayers. He earned an international call for the 2016 Under-19 World Cup pretty soon after he made his entry in List A cricket in 2015.
Noticeable performances in Big Bash League and Sheffield Shield opened doors for him to enter in the national ODI side in 2018. After a mundane start and being dropped soon, he came back into the team and troubled Virat Kohli in a series against India to stamp his mark. With his ability to bowl with pace, hit the deck hard, and swing the ball, he showed that Australia has another bowler of substance apart from Cummins, Starc, and Hazlewood.
In 37 List A encounters, he has bagged 60 wickets at 29.86. He has featured in 13 ODIs for Australia and has 24 wickets at 28.75 and a strike rate of 29.5.
11. Shaheen Afridi
His talent was spotted by his elder brother, Riaz Afridi, who played a solitary Test for his nation. Be it looks or his bowling, Shaheen can be safely called smart. Given his massive height, athletic body, and fit physique, he generates furious pace to test the batsmen.
He came into reckoning for the Pakistan Super League (PSL)- a tournament Shaheen best exploited to crawl up the ladder of national selection- in 2018. Nurturing his raw talent by playing between professional cricketers from all over Pakistan, the young lad bowled well enough spells of his left-arm-fast bowling to grab the attention of the selectors.
Shaheen received an ODI call up in 2018 immediately after performing up to the standard in a home T20 series versus West Indies. He has picked 45 wickets at 24.62 in 24 List A matches. Whereas in 19 ODIs for Pakistan thus far, he has 40 wickets at a pleasing average of 21.17 and a strike rate of 23.1.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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