With the squads announced for the upcoming Champions Trophy, there is a growing hype surrounding the young talents taking part in the tournament. We look at the young talents to watch out from every team:
1. Sam Billings
A regular in England’s limited-overs setup in the recent past, Billings has seen himself around the core of the new English swagger when it comes to the shorter forms of the game. Having only played 11 ODIs so far though, the English batsman has made his presence felt in domestic T20 leagues around the world. Playing for teams like Islamabad United, Delhi Daredevils and Sydney Sixers, the part-time wicket-keeper has impressed with his aggressive stroke making. Two fifties and an average of 27.33 do not do justice to his impressive List A numbers where he averages 43.60.
With England now adopting a ‘perform to stay’ policy, expect Billings to come out all guns blazing whenever he gets his chance ahead of either Alex Hales or Jason Roy.
2. Jasprit Bumrah
India have been searching for a quality death overs bowler for a very long time and they seem to have finally found one. Bumrah, who made a surprise debut in the ODI series in Australia in early 2016, has grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Since his debut, the right arm pacer has played in 11 ODIs taking 22 wickets at an impressive average of 21.68. It is his abilities at the death overs which makes him a man to watch out for.
The Mumbai Indians pacer has received praise from legends of the game on his ability to consistently bowl the yorker, a very underused delivery in modern cricket. He has also been compared to perhaps the greatest T20 bowler of all time, teammate Lasith Malinga. A regular in the Indian team, expect Jasprit Bumrah to impress.
3. Babar Azam
When Pakistan decided to revamp their ODI setup and go in with a young side, Babar Azam found himself at number three in the batting order and his short career so far has been nothing short of sensational. In 26 ODIs so far, Azam has 1322 runs at an astounding average of 55.08 with five hundreds already to his name. In 2016 against the West Indies in UAE, the 22-year-old scored three hundreds in the three match series and followed it up with hundreds in Australia and West Indies.
Boasting a very impressive strike rate of 90.24, the youngster has provided consistency and impetus to a batting position Pakistan has long struggled to address. With Azam integral to Pakistan’s challenge, a lot of eyes would be on this young man to see whether he can carry on his amazing start to his career.
4. Mustafizur Rahman
Very few players have created so much of hype with their performances in recent times as Mustafizur Rahman. He announced himself on the scene when he decimated the Indian team in a historic three match ODI series win when he picked up 13 wickets @11.54. In 15 ODIs so far, Rahman has 36 wickets at a very impressive average of 16.28. The 21-year-old seamer was instrumental in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s IPL title win in 2016 when he picked 16 wickets in 15 games.
A bowler with canny variations and a very impressive ability to bowl the tough overs, Mustafizur is at the heart of Bangladesh’s bowling attack and a very important player for Bangladesh’s first Champions Trophy since 2006.
5. Pat Cummins
When Pat Cummins made his Test Debut in 2011 at 18 years of age and picked an impressive seven-wicket haul, there were so many people calling him the future leader of the Australian bowling attack. Injuries have since plagued his career until 2015 where he made a return to the ODI side and the Test series against India in early 2017. In 28 matches, Cummins has 51 wickets @25.55. In seven ODIs this year, Cummins has 10 wickets.
An impressive IPL season this year has only carried his impressive comeback forward where he has picked up 15 wickets in 12 games this season. With Australia relying on their pace battery, Cummins would have a lot of responsibility on his shoulders.
6. Kagiso Rabada
With Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel regularly injured, South Africa handed a debut to 22-year-old Kagiso Rabada in 2015 and he has been nothing short of brilliant so far. In 34 ODIs so far, Rabada has 57 wickets @25.30 and has broken into the top 10 rankings for bowlers both in Test Cricket and ODI Cricket.
A handy batsman down the order, the young speedster has created a lot of waves in international cricket and continues to impresses wherever he goes. With South Africa dominating ODI Cricket in the recent past, Kagiso Rabada has become a very important part of the squad in all formats and he will be expected to deliver in only his second ICC tournament.
7. Mitchell Santner
All-rounders have become so very important to any side from becoming a good side to a great side in limited overs cricket. Mitchell Santner is one to have emerged as one of New Zealand’s all rounders with his dual ability to be a handy batsman and a handy bowler. While he has not produced serious mouth watering numbers so far in his career, his worth to the side is much more than plain numbers.
With New Zealand trying to find a permanent successor to Daniel Vettori, Santner has certainly put his hand up. He has already received praise from his captain Kane Williamson when the Kiwis toured India last year, calling him “the find of the tour”. In 33 ODIs so far, the 25 year old has scored 453 runs @26.65 and has picked up 41 wickets also taking a five wicket haul against Ireland in the ongoing tri-series. He will certainly a man to watch out for.
8. Kusal Mendis
Sri Lanka in their transition phase have tried a lot of options in their top order but seem to have found a very dependable option in young Kusal Mendis. The 22-year-old has already played in 15 Tests with a very impressive century to show for in a winning effort against Australia. His ODI numbers make for good reading as well. In 25 matches, he has 845 runs @36.45 at a strike rate of 85.70 with nine fifties and one hundred so far in his career.
He has scored at least a half century in each of six ODI series so far and that is a good stat. Sri Lanka who are still undergoing transition have trusted Mendis and he has not disappointed so far. Look out for this young man to make some headlines in the Champions Trophy.