With the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 just over a month away, here's a look at five exciting talents that are about to make their maiden appearance at the tournament - among them a certain world No.1.
Jasprit Bumrah (India)
Bumrah's rise in international cricket, since his debut in 2016, has been nothing short of remarkable. The 25-year-old is No. 1 on the MRF Tyres ICC Men's ODI Bowling Rankings, and in three short years has already turned in exceptional numbers for India. In 2018, Bumrah picked up 22 wickets in 13 ODIs, at an average of 16.63 and an economy of just 3.62. Bumrah is just 15 scalps away from 100 ODI wickets, and appears to be on track to becoming the fastest Indian to the landmark. His incisive yorkers make him a potent death bowler, but his ability to take wickets at any stage of the game sets him apart from his peers.
Shimron Hetmyer (West Indies)
Fourth ODI 💯 for Shimron Hetmyer!— ICC (@ICC) February 22, 2019
He finishes 104* from 83 balls, what an innings!
Thanks to him, West Indies have finished on 289/6. Will it be enough to stretch England?#WIvENG LIVE ➡️ https://t.co/0DsJEv4sIB pic.twitter.com/KFPxFbM3x1
All of 22 and already a vital cog in West Indies' middle-order, Hetmyer is one of the most exciting young talents in West Indies presently. He has close to 900 runs in 25 ODIs, at an average of 40.86, including four hundreds. The most recent of those - 104* in Barbados - came in February this year, in a highly competitive series against top-ranked England. Hetmyer is no stranger to the big stage, having led West Indies Under 19s to the World Cup title in 2015-16. He was also one of West Indies' most consistent performers in the Qualifiers last year. The destructive, attacking left-hander had a terrific 2018, in which he scored 727 runs in 18 ODIs and finished as the third-highest scorer in the Caribbean Premier League.
Jhye Richardson (Australia)
Richardson's ability to swing the ball both ways at speeds upto 140 kph propelled his quick rise through the ranks. Despite being just 12 ODIs old, the 22-year-old has already dismissed Virat Kohli, the No.1 batsman on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Batting Rankings, four times. Three of those dismissals came in successive ODIs in January in Australia. Richardson's 24 career wickets have come at 26.33 apiece. One of Australia's best young fast-bowling assets, Richardson is likely to partner Mitchell Starc with the new ball in the tournament.
Babar Azam (Pakistan)
While Pakistan may historically be known for their fast bowling prodigies, Azam has established himself in ODIs with consistently outstanding performances with the bat in the last two years. The right-handed batsman, who made his debut in 2015, has scored close to 2500 runs in 59 matches, at an impressive average of 51.29, and is currently No.7 in the MRF Tyres ICC Men's ODI Batting Rankings. He is the only player to have scored his first three ODI centuries in successive innings. The 24-year-old has been called by coach Mickey Arthur as Pakistan's best batsman and has been the key to most of their victories in recent times.
Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
The 20-year-old's impressive rise in international cricket emulates the rise of his home team Afghanistan. He may be young in years, but his reputation has grown by leaps and bounds since his debut in 2015. Rashid is one of the most exciting spinners in the world at present and, going by his form, could be among the top wicket-takers in the tournament. In 57 ODIs, Rashid has 123 scalps at an average of just 15, and his repertoire of variations is second to none. But it's not just his wicket-taking abilities that have made him famous. Rashid occupies the top spot in the MRF Tyres ICC Men's ODI rankings for All-rounders - a testimony to his exceptional batting credentials.