Year-ender 2016: Top emerging international cricketers of the year
With ICC Champions Trophy, IPL 2017 and Ashes battle all set to resume in the upcoming cricketing calendar, one can only expect more talents to crop up and set the ball rolling.
Pakistan: Sharjeel Khan- Sharjeel made his debut in 2013 but showed enough signs to become Pakistan s aggressive opener in 2016. With Sanath Jayasuriya s swag evident in his batting, the 27-year-old caught national selectors eyeballs. His cuts, pulls and aerial drives have managed to give some blazing starts to his side. His most cherished knock of 2016 is undoubtedly the 152 versus Ireland. His 47 off 26 versus New Zealand (in group stage of WT20) and half-century against England in a one-off T20 show his capability of providing blistering starts. He, along with Khalid Latif, have surely emerged as Pakistan s next-big-thing in the top-order. Babar Azam- Sound technique, steady head and a knack of playing long innings; that s Babar for the cricketing fraternity. In his short stint, Babar has provided much needed stability to Pakistan s inconsistent batting line-up. Babar registered three consecutive tons against West Indies and earned a place in the Test squad. He has two fifties in the longer format and possesses a staggering strike-rate of 128.88 in T20s. This player is here to stay and has emerged out of nowhere to provide solidity to Pakistan s batting line-up. If you still not satisfied, have a look at this:
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Imad Wasim- Imad made his debut in 2015 but shone as an all-rounder in 2016. England tour was the turning point for the 28-year-old as he piled up two half-centuries and contained runs at an impressive economy of 4.66. His 5 for 14 wreaked havoc of a lacklustre Irish batting line-up to rightly earn the tag of an all-rounder. His presence gives balance to the Men in Green who are trying to recover in shorter formats after languishing at No. 8 spot in ICC ODI rankings. Sri Lanka: Kusal Mendis- The land of Mendis and Pereras , Sri Lanka had a mixed year but will be satisfied with the emergence of some young stars. Kusal Mendis compiled runs at an average of 34.64 in Tests with his 176 setting the tone for his side s memorable whitewash against Australia. He got included in the ODI and T20I setup and made an instant mark. In 17 ODIs, the right-hander piled up 7 fifties at an average of 37.93 showing his understanding of all formats. He is already a vital cog at 21 and is thereby showcasing his mettle. Dhananjaya de Silva- De Silva shone with the ball against the mighty Australians, opened the batting and ticked all boxes despite the workload on his inexperienced shoulders. Debuting in Tests and ODIs in 2016, he compiled two half-centuries and hundreds in whites. In 50-overs, de Silva brought up three scores in excess of 50 and averaged 34.12. Despite the hullabaloo, de Silva still needs to work on his bowling and inject more wicket-taking deliveries than being confined with economical spells. He is more than a handy customer for Sri Lanka and will look for another promising year ahead. Lakshan Sandakan- The Chinaman bowler from the Island country shone in 2016 despite having only 4 appearances. Debuting in a three-Test series against Australia, Sandakan picked up 9 scalps at an economy rate of 2.88. His match figure of 7 for 107 was instrumental in Angelo Mathews and co. s whitewash over Australia. Sandakan even picked up two wickets in his solitary ODI appearance versus the same opponents. With Rangana Herath in the twilight of his career, his rise will be crucial for Sri Lanka. Bangladesh: Mehedi Hasan- If Mustafizur Rahman ruled the roost for Bangladesh in 2015, Mehedi was their most impressive talent with a successful debut series against England. In 2016 In just 4 innings, Mehedi s wicket tally reads 3 five-fors and one ten-wicket haul. He finished with 19 wickets against Alastair Cook s side and paved the way in levelling the two-Test series. Mehedi earned the Man of-the-Tournament in ICC U-19 World Cup and summed up 2016 by standing tall alongside Shakib Al Hasan in the national set-up. Something to be surely proud of! [read-also]560356,560576[/read-also] Australia: Peter Handscomb: A fifty in his maiden Test followed by a hundred in the second and another half-century in the third game, Handscomb has hogged limelight instantly in international circuit. Debuting in a phase when his national team was going through a tumultuous time, Handscomb instilled energy and contributed in his side s upward spiral at the fag end of the year. He is slightly unorthodox in his approach but puts a price on his wicket. He has emerged as a vital option in the middle-order. Under Steven Smith s captaincy, he will feel confident of moving in same direction in the upcoming cricketing season. Travis Head- Head made his debut in ODIs versus West Indies. He contributed with steady knocks and earned a place for Sri Lanka tour. It was on this tour that Australia were acquainted with Head s calm and composed attitude while batting. He has been a hard hitter in Big Bash League (BBL) but displayed composed knocks on slow and spin-friendly tracks of the subcontinent. Head has 3 fifties to his name but more importantly has made it clear that he is more than just a clean hitter of the ball. New Zealand: Mitchell Santner- A team who believes in pushing-the-envelope no matter what the situation and conditions, Kiwis saw the rise of all-rounder, Santner. The left-hander exhibited astute presence of mind in all formats in his debut year in 2015. He continued his forward stride with 21 wickets (in Tests), 16 scalps (in ODIs) and taking his side to the final four of WT20 held in India. His overall stats cannot be termed as impressive but his evolution in the only ICC event of the year was appreciable. Santner finished with 10 dismissals with an astonishing average of 11.40 and economy rate of 6.27 in the mega event. Tom Latham- The stylish left-hander ticked all the boxes by churning out runs against India, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Pakistan. In 11 Tests, Latham struck 658 runs at 32.90 with 2 hundreds and 5 fifties. The most striking factor of Latham s surge was the purple patch he hit on a challenging India tour. Latham was effective against the likes of Ashwin and Jadeja in whites. He made strides in coloured clothings as well by amassing 457 runs at 38.08 with 1 fifty and 2 tons. His rise keeps New Zealand in safe hands headed into a new era post Brendon McCullum s retirement. Colin de Grandhomme- Grandhomme made his shorter format debut in 2012 but played his first Test in November 2016. Making his debut against Pakistan, Grandhomme was eager to make the opportunity count by claiming 9 wickets at an average of 12.22 and economy rate of 2.16. He gave nothing away and wreaked havoc with a six-for in an innings. He also made a comeback in the ODI line-up by playing in the Chappell-Hadlee trophy 2016. The right-arm pacer surely rose to the occasion and with a handy all-round record in First-Class cricket, he will be in New Zealand s scheme of things for future. South Africa: Keshav Maharaj- Maharaj earned his Test cap during South Africa s tour of Australia. He was a silent performer in his side s 2-1 win as he chipped in with 4 wickets and did not leak easy runs. He was used judiciously by skipper Faf du Plessis and responded by showing match awareness and good understanding of the game. Proteas have struggled to find a spinner in Tests and if he does justice to his talent, he will continue to be a valuable asset for du Plessis and co. Stephen Cook: South Africa also found an able opener in form of the right-hander. Cook debuted in January 2016 against England in whites. He has since then played 7 Tests and registered 2 fifties and 3 tons in his short career. Cook has a knack of shuffling around and possesses a sound technique as well. He has formed a good opening pair with Dean Elgar which provides stability to Proteas comprising of Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and du Plessis in the middle-order. West Indies: Carlos Brathwaite- If there is any player who deserves to bag the Emerging Talent of 2016, it has to be the 28-year-old Caribbean. Brathwaite made his debut in shorter formats in 2011 but it was in 2016 that he did not put a wrong foot forward to emerge as a promising talent. Brathwaite played his first ICC event in WT20 and played a stellar knock under pressure to steer his side to their second title in the marquee event. His four sixes off Ben Stokes in the last over of the final announced him in big stage with enough swag. Later, he also became the skipper of West Indies T20 side and won his first match against India. He still has lots to deliver and is rightly being looked upon by the team management. Here is the video depicting Brathwaite s nerves of steel to thrash England in the WT20 final. I bet you cannot get enough of this: England s forthcoming assignments post new year. Jason Roy- After playing a vital role in England s transition in limited-overs, Roy again shone in coloured clothings in 2016. He featured in 17 ODIs and amassed 647 runs at 43.13 with 2 tons and equal number of half-centuries. In T20Is, Roy played some blinders including a 78-run knock off 50 balls to eliminate New Zealand in WT20 semi-finals. He continues to march forward in shorter formats and will be expected to play as an aggressive opener in ICC Champions Trophy 2017. Here is a glimpse of Roy's hard-hitting skills from England vs New Zealand WT20 semi-final clash at Ferozshah Kotla, New Delhi. Afghanistan: Rashid Khan- Afghanistan have moved from strength to strength in world cricket amidst minimal fanfare. They were the only side to beat West Indies in WT20 and continued to challenge other low-lying sides. They have some quality players in form of Mohammad Shahzad, Mohammad Nabi and Asghar Stanikzai, but the side saw the rise of leg-spinner Rashid in the year gone by. He picked up wickets against all opponents and finished the year with 22 ODI scalps at an average of 19.50 and economy rate of 4. Rashid had an equally impressive run in T20s by claiming 23 wickets under 7 runs per over. There were many such sparkling performances by debutants or less renounced players who kept us glued to the television sets in 2016. With ICC Champions Trophy, IPL 2017 and Ashes battle all set to resume in the upcoming cricketing calendar, one can only expect more talents to crop up and set the ball rolling.
Babar Azam - 1st to score career's 1st 3 100s in consecutive inns - 2nd to make 3 100s in a 3-match series - 8th to score 3 consecutive 100sBharath Seervi (@SeerviBharath) October 5, 2016
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