As part of Bowlers Month, we celebrate some extraordinary bowling talent aged under 21 who have been putting in impressive performances in the last few years.
Some of them have sparkled at the Under-19 ICC Cricket World Cups, a few have already made the step up to senior cricket in their teens and some await first-class call-ups. All of them have impressed with their spirit and passion for the sport and offered glimpses of a promising future. Here's a chance to learn more about the bowlers, young men and women, all in their teens or just out of it, who have had performances of note in the past few years.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan)
At 20, Mujeeb Ur Rahman is considered one of the best spinners in world cricket, after having graduated from youth cricket to the senior Afghanistan side. He has become a favourite at T20 leagues around the world. He has already played 60 international matches, picking up 89 wickets. Barely out of his teens, he is already No.2 on the MRF Tyres ICC Men's T20I Rankings for bowlers.
Mujeeb's effectiveness lies in his variations, from the conventional off and leg-breaks, to the googly and carrom ball. In limited overs, he takes the new ball regularly.
Naseem Shah (Pakistan)
Naseem Shah made his Test debut in Australia in November 2019 as a 16-year-old, only a day after losing his mother, digging deep to showcase his immense potential. With a smooth run-up and raw pace, he has quickly become a star. By the end of 2019, he had picked up a Test hat-trick, becoming the youngest ever to achieve the feat.
Sandeep Lamichhane (Nepal)
A wily leg-spinner, Lamichhane first made a mark in the 2016 ICC Men’s Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh, leading Nepal's wicket-takers with 14 scalps in six games, including a five-wicket haul. His senior team debut came in 2018. Now, at 20, he has already taken more than 50 wickets in international cricket across ODIs and T20Is. He is the second-highest wicket-taker in T20Is since 2019 with 34 wickets in just 19 matches, alongside an impressive economy rate of 6.19, and is a popular choice in T20 leagues around the world.
Ravi Bishnoi (India)
The top wicket-taker in the 2020 ICC Men’s Under-19 World Cup, Bishnoi is a handful because of his variations. He uses the googly quite often. He picked up 17 wickets in six matches at the youth World Cup. He was picked up for the Indian Premier League by the Punjab franchise and has been a regular for them in the 2020 season.
Wesley Madhevere (Zimbabwe)
In ICC Men’s Under-19 World Cups, no bowler has taken more wickets than Madhevere, who has 36 in 28 matches at an average of 18.50. The 20-year-old has played five international matches for the senior side, making his ODI and T20I debuts in March 2020. He proved a shining light for Zimbabwe in those fixtures, putting in strong performances with bat as well as ball.
Kartik Tyagi (India)
Right-arm fast bowler
Another under-19 star from India, Tyagi is a pace bowler who can move the ball in the air and off the seam. He made his first-class debut in 2017 as a 16-year-old. He was a standout bowler for India in the ICC Men’s Under-19 World Cup in 2020, picking up 11 wickets in six games at an average of 13.90. He was also picked up to play in the Indian Premier League.
Radha Yadav (India)
Slow left-arm orthodox
Radha Yadav offers the Indian attack clever pace and length variations, loopy flight and excellent guile. Having made her international debut in 2018, she has played 35 T20Is, and is just one wicket shy of getting to 50 wickets. Currently No.7 on the MRF Tyres ICC Women's T20I Rankings for bowling, she reached a career-best No.2 earlier this year.
Issy Wong (England)
Issy Wong is one of the quickest pace bowlers coming through in women’s cricket. While she is yet to break into the international side, Wong has raw pace and was clocking 70mph as a teenager. Hitting the deck hard, she is known to trouble batters with pace and skiddy bounce. It all got her a deal with Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundred. Fun fact: she can solve the Rubik’s cube in less than 35 seconds!
Jayden Seales (West Indies)
Jayden Seales idolises Curtly Ambrose and certainly seems to have the raw materials to become another West Indian pace bowling prodigy. He can swing the new ball both ways and consistently hits 140kph. He was impressive in the 2020 Under-19 World Cup, taking 10 wickets in six games with a best of 4/19. He will travel with the senior side on their tour of New Zealand later this year as a reserve.
Shaheen Shah Afridi (Pakistan)
With 45 international matches under his belt, Shaheen is already one of the most exciting fast bowlers in world cricket. At 6 feet 6 inches, he swings the ball early and is a handful in the Powerplay in limited-overs cricket. An all-format bowler, he has already figured in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and played Tests in Australia and England. In ODIs, he has the best bowling strike-rate for any bowler with at least 30 wickets since 2018.
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