A World Cup in any sport gives young players an opportunity to turn themselves into global superstars. This is the case in cricket also. Performing well in a bi-lateral series wins a cricketer the applause of his and the opponent's country. But a good performance on the biggest stage of the game spreads his renown all over the cricket world.
In the 2019 World Cup also, there were many young or new cricketers trying to make a name for themselves. Some of them succeeded while some faltered. Now that the big event is over, we have a good opportunity to look at those young and upcoming cricketers who rose to the occasion and showed the world the talent they possess.
Here is a list of 5 such men who displayed their talent and made the world realise that they could well be the next big things from their countries.
Ikram Ali Khil
The entry of this player into the Afghanistan team happened after the controversial exit of their veteran keeper-batsman Mohammad Shehzad midway through the tournament. The 18-year old didn't just keep wickets but was even promoted to bat at no. 3. He responded by scoring a wonderful 86 in the game against West Indies. What is most impressive about this youngster is that, unlike other batsmen in his team, he seems to have a very decent technique. With many years ahead of him, he could well turn out to be that precocious talent that Afghanistan would need to make a mark in the future.
Rassie van der Dussen
He is not a young man but 30 years old. Still, Rassie van der Dussen is a newcomer in the world of international cricket. Right from his debut innings, where he scored 93, van der Dussen has looked the part in international cricket. His stroke-play is very fluent and equally good against fast and slow bowlers. There also seems to be a maturity in his game which is probably the result of experience in domestic cricket. He already has 7 half-centuries in 18 games and though yet to get a hundred, the right-hander has twice been out in the nineties. In the World Cup also, he played some brilliant innings including the last one where Rassie got his personal best of 95. He could become a very important player in the future.
The talent of Shaheen Afridi had been recognised well before the tournament began. He had bowled good spells in his career already. But with the whole world watching, Afridi reached new heights of success. His 6-wicket haul against Bangladesh was an example of highest quality of bowling. With his great height, ability to bowl yorkers and also to swing the ball, he could turn out to be a legend. Still only a teenager, Afridi is only going to get better and, perhaps, faster. Watching him over the next few years promises to be exciting.
West Indies is a cricketing nation that always has players with great potential but very little outcome. Nicholas Pooran is another very exciting prospect and thought of highly by people who follow Windies cricket. How good he is became clear when he scored a magnificent hundred against Sri Lanka in a tough chase. If luck had gone in the favour of West Indies, he may well have pulled off a remarkable victory. Having all the elegance of a left hander and the flair of a batsman from the Caribbean, Pooran is another one of the talented players in the West Indian batting line-up. Along with Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer, they could well become the spine of the Windies batting in future.
No country is in greater need of future superstar batsmen than Sri Lanka. They have been struggling ever since Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara hung up their boots from international cricket. While Kusal Mendis and Kusal Perera have shown glimpses of their undeniable talent, they haven't been able to do justice to it. Fernando could well be the man who changes that. There seems to be a bit of Marvan Atapattu about him, especially the way he plays the ball on to the leg-side. His hundred against West Indies could be the turning point in his career. However, he has to prove that, unlike the two Kusals, he can perform consistently.
Adam Gilchrist revolutionised the role of wicketkeeper in the team. They are no longer considered as glovemen behind the stumps but also important batsmen. Alex Carey seems to be the one who will finally provide a decent replacement to Australia for Gilchrist. In this World Cup, Carey displayed his brilliant stroke-play, both against spinners and fast bowlers, as well as his ability to find boundaries in difficult situation. Especially against spinners, he uses his long reach to great effect. He is certainly going to be a great servant of Australian cricket if everything goes well.
He was a superstar in T20 franchise cricket already. But judgement was reserved as to whether he can replicate his success at the international level. It's clear now that Jofra Archer is one of the finest limited-overs bowler in the world and is mastering that most valued art in cricket today – death overs bowling – as well as anyone. With genuine pace that inflicted injuries on both Alex Carey and Hashim Amla and a bag full of tricks like slower ball, slower bouncer, etc., he has every quality to become a leading bowler in world cricket. But what left people most confidence in his abilities was his temperament. His performance in the final, first at the end of the New Zealand innings and then in the super over, showed his class. He truly is a superstar in making.