Top 5 Emerging Players of the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup
While ODI cricket is usually regarded as a format for the more experienced players, while youngsters are associated more with T20 cricket, the recently concluded edition of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup presented an anomaly as several young players came of age.
With the bat, players like Rachin Ravindra and Ibrahim Zadran sizzled and grabbed eyeballs, despite having very little experience. Then with the ball, the likes of Gerald Coetzee made history, despite having made their ODI debuts just a few months ago.
Overall, the tournament has produced many emerging stars who can rule the cricket world in the years to come, if they maintain a composed head on their shoulders. Without wasting another second, let’s take a look at the top five emerging stars:
#5 Ibrahim Zadran (Afghanistan)
At only 21 years of age, Zadran showed immense maturity in this competition. Opening alongside Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who is a brilliant batter but likes to live on the edge, Zadran needed to be more composed and secure.
He scored 376 runs in nine matches, at a brilliant average of 47. Zadran got decent starts against India and England, but could not utilize it to get a big score. The first time he showed his true potential was in the match against Afghanistan, where he played a match-winning innings. Chasing a target of 283 runs, Zadran scored 87 runs in 113 balls.
He then got starts against Sri Lanka and the Netherlands as well, but the best knock of his life came against Australia. On a tricky Wankhede wicket, Zadran scored 129 runs in 143 balls and remained unbeaten till the end helping the Afghans post a tall score on the board.
#4 Abdullah Shafique (Pakistan)
Being only 23 when the tournament was played, Abdullah Shafique was not expected to get into the Pakistani playing XI at the World Cup. But a poor start for Fakhar Zaman opened the door for him, and since then, he has done enough to ensure the Pakistani team management will never think about dropping him again.
In only 8 matches, Shafique scored 336 runs at an average of over 40 and a strike rate of over 90. It did not take long for Shafique to prove his worth, as he scored a century in a six-wicket win in his debut ODI World Cup appearance against Sri Lanka. To make it more impressive, that century came while chasing a huge target of 345 runs.
Shafique then scored half-centuries against Australia and Afghanistan, but unfortunately, he ended up on the losing side on both occasions. His last half-century came against Bangladesh in a winning cause.
#3 Azmatullah Omarzai (Afghanistan)
Afghanistan has always had some world-class bowlers and exciting batters, but they had been searching for the ideal replacement for the ageing Mohammed Nabi. It seems they have got one in Azmatullah Omarzai, who is equally good with both the bat and the ball.
The youngster scored 353 runs at a superb average of over 70 and a strike rate of nearly 100. He scored two half-centuries – a 63-ball 73 in a match-winning chase against Sri Lanka, and an unbeaten innings of 107 runs off 97 balls against South Africa.
As for his bowling, Omarzai picked up 7 wickets, with his average being under 40. His best performances were against New Zealand and Australia, where he picked up two wickets in both games. Omarzai dismissed Will Young and Ravindra in the match against the Kiwis while the all-rounder dismissed David Warner and Josh Inglis against the Kangaroos.
#2 Gerald Coetzee (South Africa)
In only his maiden ODI World Cup campaign, Gerald Coetzee created a record by picking up 20 wickets, which makes him the leading South African wicket-taker in a single edition of this tournament. Alongside his wickets, he also had a fantastic average of under 20.
The fiery pacer set the tone in only his first appearance, as he picked up three wickets against Sri Lanka. After a poor outing against the Netherlands, Coetzee bounced back again with consecutive three-wicket hauls against England and Bangladesh.
The young star picked up a total of six wickets in the three matches against Pakistan, New Zealand, and Australia but Coetzee’s best performance came against Afghanistan, where he picked up four wickets by dismissing Zadran, Ikram Alikhil, Noor Ahmad, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
#1 Rachin Ravindra (New Zealand)
While the four players we have mentioned so far have all been superb, New Zealand’s Ravindra takes the cake for his brilliant batting performances. The Indian-origin star, who celebrated his 24th birthday just a few days ago, scored 578 runs, which included three centuries and two half-centuries.
Moreover, he scored those runs at an average of nearly 65 and a strike rate of over 100. His first century came against England, where he played an unbeaten innings of 123 runs. He then scored 116 runs against a sensational Australian bowling attack, before scoring 108 runs against Pakistan.
As for his half-centuries, he scored 51 runs against the Netherlands and 75 runs against India. Besides being a promising opening batter, Ravindra is also a pretty handy left-arm orthodox spinner.
He picked up 5 wickets in this tournament, with his economy rate being under 6 runs per over. Two of those wickets came against Sri Lanka, while the other three came against England, Afghanistan, and the Netherlands.