Afridi, Rabada, Hetmyer: The Young Guns of ICC World Cup 2019
Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan
Cameraperson: Mukul Bhandari
Only few days are left before host England face South Africa in the opening match of the 2019 ICC World Cup. The format of the tournament will be different this time around - with all teams playing each other in a league format.
But like every edition, this time too the teams are teeming with young talents, who are raring to go and win games for their sides.
Apart from Afghanistan, Pakistan and West Indies also house many young cricketers who might just clinch the deal for their side at crucial juncture in the tournament.
So, here's a look at some of the young cricketers who might end up making an indelible mark at the World Cup in England and Wales.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman
The 18-year-old is already following the footstep of his not so old senior pro Rashid Khan, and will be looking to form a formidable bowling pair with him during the World Cup. Mujeeb has an impeccable ODI record with 51 wickets from 30 matches at a stingy economy of 3.76. With such a record and his ability to bowl the traditional off spin, along with the leg spin and the googly, Mujeeb is sure to cause some problem for the opposition batsmen.
One of the most exciting all-rounders around. Archer is a known entity for the Indian fans, courtesy his IPL exploits with the Rajasthan side. Predominantly, a bowling all-rounder, Archer, who bowls in the mid-80s can give England the much-needed breakthroughs. The pacer can bowl both at the start and during the middle overs. With the bat too he capable of lusty blows. But it is yet to be seen whether he is capable of consolidating his innings, if required. His English debut hasn't been great but that doesn't mean his World Cup debut can't be memorable.
The baby-faced assassin Shaheen Afridi comes from a rich lineage of Pakistani fast bowlers. And till now the 18-year-old has done everything right to justify his pedigree. Still early in his cricketing career, Shaheen has 24 scalps from 14 outings and an economy of less than six, which is great in the today's context. The lanky pacer uses the height to his advantage to extract the extra bounce, which is his most potent weapon. A lot will be depend on Shaheen and his accuracy at the start of the innings to give Pakistan the much-needed boost in the competition.
The 19-year-old pacer grabbed eyeballs with his pace during the domestic tournaments early this year in Pakistan. Bowling as fast as 151 kilometre per hour, the Hyderabad-born cricketer has regularly exceeded the 140 kilometre per hour-mark. In international cricket, Hasnain is only three months old and is yet to prove his worth but his pace might already be a matter of worry for the opposition. Saying that, his control over his length and ability to move the ball will be more crucial on the English pitches.
A topic of debate in Pakistan cricketing circles, Imam-ul-Haq has proved time and again in his short cricketing career that he is all talent and not a product of nepotism. With an average of 60, the nephew of Inzamam-ul-Haq, already has six centuries to his name in 28 matches. The southpaw has the technique and level head to be able to succeed but his weakness against the moving ball might be a worry in England. Strong with drives, Imam is more of a consolidator than a power-hitter. Imam has been playing in England since April and has already recorded his highest ODI score of 151 against England in the recently concluded ODI series. He will continue to be a key component in Pakistan's arsenal.
Nothing much to talk about the South African prodigy. Everything is out there. it is just that any young cricketer list would be incomplete these days without Mr Rabada. Already the number one bowler in Test cricket, Rabada is leading the South African pace attack and no one would be surprised if he tops the bowling chart at the end of the tournament. Consistent with his pace, bowling over 140 kilometre per hour, a discussion on Rabada will surely be part of all team meetings.
One of the most talented among the current lot of Windies batsmen, Shimron Hetmyer, has four centuries against his name in only 25 ODIs. Off-late he hasn't been on the mark with bat but the Guyanese batsmen know how to up the ante in an ICC tournament. Remember, he had captained the West Indies under-19 team to the 2016 World Cup glory. Hetmyer would also like to have memorable senior World Cup debut. Still relatively new to the game, Hetmeyer could surprise opposition with his fearlessness and ability to clear the ropes.
Another new Windies kid on the block. Wicket keeper Nicholas Pooran showed what he is capable of with the bat in this year's IPL. Mirroring the power-hitting abilities of batsmen from the Caribbean, Pooran is also capable of playing the long innings. Might not be the first choice keeper, the Indian-origin cricketer might make the cut purely as a batsman. His ability of clearing the boundaries might come in handy with longer boundaries in England.
The 6 foot 6 inch tall Jamaican has everything that takes to become a menacing fast bowler - a strong action, bouncer and yorker and swing. His ability to swing the ball at express pace makes him a valuable commodity in England. Possessing raw pace, a good outing for Thomas would translate into successful campaign for the Windies.
This young Bangladeshi all-rounder has the potential to become one of surprise packages of this World. A batting all-rounder who bowls right-arm off spin Mehidy is handy with the bat down the order. As far his off spins are concerned, the English pitches are not expected to offer much. But if the it is a dry summer and the pitches start turning, then Mehidy would certainly be a tricky customer to handle.
(Hi there! We will be continuing our news service on WhatsApp. Meanwhile, stay tuned to our Telegram channel here.)