Inzamam-Ul-Haq in 1992. Lasith Malinga in 2007. ICC’s showpiece event, the ODI World Cup is always a massive platform for the game’s stalwarts to impose their dominance. At the same time, it is a stage where young guns announce their presence with sterling shows. The World Cups have always produced promising stars.
The 2019 World Cup too saw some special talents making big statements and attracting limelight. Here are the top five young guns that made it big in ICC World Cup 2019.
The 18-year-old Afghan cricketer spent most part of the World Cup under the radar but on 4th July, he garnered plenty of eyeballs as he came strikingly close of becoming the first teenager to slam a hundred in a World Cup.
Alikhil’s innings of 86 against Windies reflected his immense talent and also gave a glimpse of what to expect from him in the future. Afghanistan had very few things to cheer about in this World Cup but in Ikram Alikhil they certainly found something to dream big about.
This World Cup saw Sri Lankan legends Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews resurrect themselves and it also saw the rise of a young prodigy in the form of Avishka Fernando.
Fernando didn’t feature in Sri Lanka’s playing XI in the early part of the World Cup but was included in the team against England where he scored an impressive knock of 49. It wasn’t an innings to make headlines but it was enough to cement his place in the team.
And one match later he did make headlines with a spectacular hundred against Windies although the bigger attention was grabbed by other players.
Fernando has an aggressive intent which is exactly what Sri Lanka needs at the moment and hence he can be expected to have a bright future.
With everyone busy talking about Mohammad Amir, the 19-year-old Shaheen Afridi rose to fame with 16 wickets in five games.
The spark was evident in his spell against Australia when he made a mess of Glenn Maxwell’s stumps with his pace but his first big moment came against New Zealand as he ripped apart the middle order with his relentless accuracy.
And he kept his best for the last and blew apart Bangladesh by claiming six-wickets. Pakistan’s next bowling star is here!
His wicket-keeping was dodgy and may have cost Australia some runs, but with the bat, Alex Carey was as good a batsman in the middle order can be.
He came to crease at different situations but every time walked back with a valuable performance.
In the first game, he rescued Australia from five down for 79 with a solid 45 run knock and in the next innings scored a blistering 55 not out in just 35 balls against a strong Indian bowling attack.
Carey then continued his purple patch with crucial half-centuries against New Zealand and South Africa and also made a mark in the semi-final with 46 off 70 balls as he was promoted to number five with Australia tottering at 3 down for 14 runs.And not to forget he was batting with a bandage on his face.
An average of 62.50 and a strike rate of 104.16 for his 375 runs means Carey would be keeping wickets for Australia for a foreseeable future.
Chris Gayle didn’t explode as expected, Shimron Hetmyer failed to arrive at the party and let’s just not talk about Andre Russell. In a nutshell Windies had a disappointing World Cup.
But in Nicolas Pooran they found hope in despair. He scored the most runs for the team (367), had the best average (52.42) and struck the most number of boundaries (33 fours, 10 sixes).
He will be mad at himself for not finishing the game against Sri Lanka which meant his sensational knock of 118 runs went in vain. But importantly he has proved that he belongs to this stage and can make Windies Great Again!