The #SummerOfSports is on! After a fantastic Vivo IPL 2019, the cricketing juggernaut moves on to the ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2019. Starting May 30, the top guns in world cricket will descend on England for the ultimate battle. Along with the established stars, there are few who could emerge as the ‘surprise package’. We take a look at these potential superstars. Watch out for them at the ICC CWC 2019.
Zazai who? He’s the guy who bludgeoned six sixes in an over in the Afghanistan Premier League last year. He also smashed 162 runs in a T20I against Ireland in February this year. That innings saw him occupy the seventh position in the top-10 rankings for T20I batsmen. The southpaw hits it big — and far! No wonder he is called the ‘Afghan Gayle’!
He’s the latest from the Pakistani assembly line of left-arm quicks. But Afridi is different. For one, he’s not express. The lanky, baby-faced teenager is more in the mould of Glenn Mcgrath. He keeps peppering the batsman’s off-stump, waiting for a mistake. If Mcgrath was called ‘pigeon’, Afridi could well be the ‘woodpecker’ — chipping away at the batsman’s stumps!
Hasnain? Never heard of him! He’s an unknown entity in world cricket, that’s why. But boy, he’s express! In the Pakistan Super League, he regularly clocked speeds of 148-150 kph. He’s fast, quick and bowls full. Pakistan could just unleash this 18-year-old on opponents to spring a surprise. The cricketing world’s yearning for an exciting tearaway speedster may soon end.
Rassie Van Der Dussen shot into prominence in the second ODI against Pakistan at home earlier this year. Chasing 203, South Africa were reeling at 80/5 when he stitched an unbeaten partnership with Andile Phelukwayo to take them home. The match was marred by Sarfraz Ahmed’s infamous ‘Abe Kaale…’ remark. For observers of SA cricket, it didn’t come as a surprise. He’s played numerous such innings in his list ‘A’ career across the world. He could well be SA’s ‘wall’ in the middle-order.
Vijay Shankar is a bankable middle-order batsman and a handy seam bowler. Since his debut earlier this year, he has impressed pundits with his sound technique and temperament. His contributions, albeit small, have been notable. Although mostly under-bowled, he’s shown promise of being able to bottle up batsmen in the middle overs. However, it’s with the bat that India would want him to contribute. India’s search for an ideal No. 4 may just end at ICC CWC 2019.
Ok; he’s the left-arm seamer? No, he’s the right-handed top-order batsman. Never heard about him, right? In 2016, Fernando scored big runs at the under-19 level, in England and at the ICC under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh. Although yet to fire at the senior level, he has the ammunition to explode at the start of the innings. Will he detonate like Sanath Jayasuriya used to? Too optimistic, is it? Let’s wait and watch.
Bowl fast and hit the deck hard! That’s what Oshane Thomas does. Indian audiences got a glimpse when West Indies toured India for a five-match ODI series in 2018. He rattled Shikhar Dhawan — disturbing his stumps on a couple of occasions. He regularly clocked speeds upwards of 147 kph in that series. However, he announced himself in the fifth one-dayer against England this year at home. In a fiery spell, he scythed through their middle order finishing with five wickets for 21 runs. ‘Fast and furious’ may well acquire a new meaning in England!