Exciting new talents that blazed a trail at World Cup 2019

Many youngsters caught the eye of the cricketing world at the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales. Here is a look at a few promising ones.

With 16 wickets at an average of 14.62, Afridi has emerged as the latest addition to Pakistan’s long line of pace sensations.   -  getty images

Shaheen Afridi, 19, Pakistan

With 16 wickets at an average of 14.62, Afridi has emerged as the latest addition to Pakistan’s long line of pace sensations. His six for 35 against Bangladesh set up a comfortable 94-run victory for his team in its final group stage outing. In the previous match, the left-arm fast bowler scalped four wickets against Afghanistan, in what was another winning effort. The wiry 6’6” southpaw, who hails from the Khyber Agency, showed exceptional control over line and length. He also gets the ball to zoom around off the pitch, which often leads to edges behind the stumps.

Avishka Fernando, 21, Sri Lanka

 

The Sri Lankans are in a transitional phase now, and their recent win-loss ratio has suffered as a result. The performance of Avishka Fernando, however, has shown that the island nation is not short of young talent. Fernando came in for high praise after his match-winning 103-ball 104 against the West Indies. The knock prompted former Sri Lanka batsman Mahela Jayawardene to state that Fernando is the spark that can reignite the side’s fortunes. Even skipper Dimuth Karunaratne heaped praise, saying Fernando is sure to be a future star. An elegant batsman, Fernando will look to build on this fine run and establish himself as a permanent presence in international cricket in quick time.

Nicholas Pooran, 23, West Indies

 

High hopes have been placed on Pooran, with Chris Gayle describing him as a ‘savage youngster’, ‘mini universe boss’ and ‘world-record beater’. A terrific 118 against Sri Lanka showed that such praise was indeed well deserved. Pooran, armed with a wide range of shots, has the ability to turn a match on its head. In the Sri Lanka fixture, he walked in with the West Indies in trouble at 71 for three, and guided his team to a good position in chase of a stiff 339-run target. An ill-timed dismissal to the ageing Angelo Mathews, however, brought an end to his dream knock and the West Indies’ chances of picking up a win.

Mohammad Saifuddin, 22, Bangladesh

 

Saifuddin first made his mark in the 2016 Under-19 World Cup, where he showed skill with both bat and ball. His transition to senior cricket has been smooth, as evidenced by his good show in the World Cup. With 13 wickets, Saifuddin finished as Bangladesh’s second highest wicket-taker, behind Mustafizur Rahman (20 wickets). Saifuddin also proved to be a more than capable batsman. An unbeaten 38-ball 51 gave the Indians a mighty fright, before they scrambled to record a 28-run win. The all-rounder from the small town of Feni possesses a tough attitude, one that gives him the mental strength to stand up to any challenge posed on the field.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman, 18, Aghanistan

 

The finger spinner may not have picked up wickets by the bucketful, but he has managed to keep accomplished batsmen quiet. Rahman recorded seven scalps at an economy rate of 4.47. This has helped him jump four places to sixth on the ICC World ODI ranking for bowlers, overtaking countryman Rashid Khan who has slipped to eighth. Rahman also lit up the stage with one of the best deliveries of the tournament. He got an in-from Rohit Sharma with a beauty, the ball drifting in and then moving away to clip the top of off-stump. Rohit was gone for 1 — a rare failure for the Indian run-machine.

Oshane Thomas, 22, West Indies

 

The burly speedster, steaming in at full tilt, presents a fearsome sight for opposition batsmen. The Australians faced his wrath, which left Usman Khawaja and captain Aaron Finch shaken. While Khawaja was rattled by a bouncer which crashed into the helmet, Finch was taken out fending at an awkward length. Thomas, who regularly breaches the 150 kmph mark, belongs to the mould of fast bowlers who care more for speed than control. The Jamaican can frustrate his captain by spraying it all over the place, but when he gets it right, it can yield magical rewards.