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World Cup 2023: The 5 youngsters who will set the tone for their teams

ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023: Gill, Jansen, Green among top five youngsters to watch out for.

Asia Cup 2023, IND vs BAN, Super 4_ Shubman Gill scored 5th ODI ton; scored 121 against Bangladesh_ Walking wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Gill has over 1200 runs from 20 innings in ODI in 2023 (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)

With just around two weeks to go before the 13th edition of the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup (CWC) 2023 in India, fans around the globe are preparing themselves for a thrilling and action-packed tournament that promises to showcase the best of the sport.

As the teams are gearing up with their last-minute preparations, here are a few youngsters who are expected to shine and leave a lasting impact in the tournament.

Let’s take a look at top five youngsters, all below 25 - who have played at least 15 but less than 50 ODIs

Shubman Gill (1690 ODI runs in 30 innings since 2022)

One of the biggest positives for India in all the formats, especially the One Day Internationals (ODIs), has been the superb performance of Shubman Gill as an opener since the start of 2022.

So far, Gill has displayed his prowess in all conditions. Whether it’s batting in an aggressive manner on the flat tracks to post a huge score or showing his resilience in a tough chase against the slow turn on a sluggish track, Gill’s transfer of body weight to his bat swing to his execution of the shots- everything remains perfect.

Since the start of 2022, Gill has scored 1690 ODI runs in 30 innings at an average of 70.41 and strike rate of 103.49 - including eight fifties and five centuries with a best of 208. His 1052 ODI runs, at an average of 70.13, till September 19, 2023, is the most ODI runs scored by an individual in the ongoing year. Gill also finished the recently concluded Asia Cup 2023 as the highest run scorer with 302 runs in six innings at an average of 75.50 and strike rate of 93.50.

Even though Gill proved his worth with the 149-ball 208 run knock against New Zealand at the start of this year, his 133-ball 121 against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup 2023 has shown that he has the ability to score on slow tracks, something which would come in handy as the World Cup progresses.

Asia Cup 2022, Super 4, Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka_ Rahmanullah Gurbaz score half century (84 off 45) against Sri Lanka in Super 4 game. Afghanistan lost to Sri Lanka _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©ICC/Twitter)
Rahmanullah Gurbaz opens for Afghanistan in ODIs (Photo: ©ICC/Twitter)
Rahmanullah Gurbaz (778 ODI runs in 23 innings since 2022)

One of the reasons for Afghanistan doing well in ODIs of late has been the supreme touch of Rahmanullah Gurbaz - who has played some fierce knocks as an opener to build a good platform for his team.

Gurbaz had a great start in his ODI career - scoring 180 runs in three innings at an average of 60 in the year 2021. Since 2022, the wicket-keeper batter has notched up 778 ODI runs at an average of 35.36 and strike rate of 80.95 thanks to a couple of fifties and four centuries with a best of 151. This suggests that once Gurbaz gets into the rhythm, he ends up scoring huge scores.

Undoubtedly the main weapon for Afghanistan is their spin-trio, but for them to win the game, runs are vital and the 21-year-old could take the responsibilities on his shoulders. Even though he had a very bad outing in the Asia Cup, he was in good touch against Pakistan where he smashed a fabulous 151-knock with a strike rate of 100 against the fiery pace attack of Shaheen Shah Afridi and co. So, Gurbaz will be looking to get back his old temperament and show his caliber.

Asia Cup 2022, Super 4, Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka_ Maheesh Theekshana's 1-29 proved to be vital against Afghanistan in Super 4 game. SL beat AFG _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©ICC/Twitter)
Theekshana has taken 31 wickets from 15 games in 2023 (Photo: ©ICC/Twitter)
Maheesh Theekshana (40 ODI wickets in 26 innings since 2022)

Even at a young age of 23, Sri Lanka’s Maheesh Theekshana has led the bowling for his team in the absence of key players- Wanindu Hasaranga and Lahiru Kumara - during Asia Cup 2023.

It’s a rarity and also a luxury for a captain to have a spinner who can bowl a couple of overs in the powerplay to take wickets, besides stopping the run flow in the middle overs, and also coming back and ending his spell in the death overs to finish on a high. Theekshana does all of these with great control at a low economy rate.

Since 2022, the off-spinner has picked up 40 ODI wickets in 26 innings at an average of 24.87 and economy of 4.53 with the best bowling figure of 4/25. In 2023, Theekshana is so far the joint second-highest wicket-taker in this format with 31 scalps in 15 innings at an average of 17.45 and economy of 4.50 with three four-wicket hauls. Even in the Asia Cup 2023, he had just eight wickets in five games but at an eye-catching economy of 5.15 after bowling 45.1 overs.

When it’s tough to bat against his speed even on flat decks, it goes without saying how difficult it will be to attack him on spinning tracks. Sri Lanka would be eager to get him in the side, presuming he recovers from the back injury that kept him out of the Asia Cup final.

Marco Jansen is very handy batter and bowler with the new ball_ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©ICC/Twitter)
Marco Jansen is very handy batter and bowler with the new ball (Photo: ©ICC/Twitter)
Marco Jansen (114.7 strike rate & 18 ODI scalps since 2022)

Marco Jansen is someone who bowls with the new ball in the powerplay, does the needful in the other phases of bowling, besides adding vital runs to the team total at an aggressive pace in the lower order.

Jansen with his left-arm swing has demolished many batting line-ups. In the recently concluded ODI series against Australia, Jansen with his 5/39 in Johannesburg helped the Proteas win the series by a 3-2 margin after trailing 2-0 in the first couple of games. The 23-year-old who picked up eight wickets in five games of the series at an average of 28.87 has also contributed with the bat - scoring 134 runs in four innings at an average of 33.50 and strike rate of 125.23.

Since his debut in 2022, Jansen has smacked 265 runs in 11 games at an average of 29.4 and strike rate of 114.7 besides bagging 18 wickets in 14 games at an economy of 6.23. With South Africa showing positive signs with their ruthless approach, Jansen will play a huge role in strengthening their World Cup side.

India vs Australia, 1st T20I, Top Performances_ Cameron Green gets player of the match in 1st T20I at Mohali for his all round (61, 1-46 & 2 catches) performance _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©BCCI)
Green has experience in playing Indian conditions (Photo: ©BCCI)
Cameron Green (299 runs and 13 wickets in ODIs since 2022)

All-rounders are always a boon for any side in any format of the game, and Cameron Green’s contribution with both bat and ball has balanced the structure of Australia in the 50-over format.

Green struggled in the South Africa series with his injury and it was clearly visible how his absence hampered the Australia bowling line-up. The 24-year-old has a very decent ODI record, with 299 runs in 16 games at an average of 49.83 and strike rate of 87.42 including one fifty with a best of 89*.

However, Green had a fantastic IPL 2023 with Mumbai Indians - recording 452 runs in 16 innings at an average of 50.22 and strike rate of 160.28 with two fifties and one century. Australia will hope to get some excellent performances from the young all-rounder with both bat and ball - using his IPL experience playing in the Indian conditions too.

Harry Brook is one of the shining prospects for England cricket in coming years _ Walking Wicket (Courtesy_ ©ICC/Twitter)
Harry Brook finds a place in England squad for CWC 2023 (Images: ©ICC/Twitter)
Other youngsters who could impress

Apart from these five, England’s Harry Book, even though he doesn’t seem to be included in the playing eleven at the beginning of the competition could play a game changing role in the backend of the competition. Rachin Ravindra from New Zealand, who is a back-up for Micthell Santner, or Netherland’s Bas de Leede are the other youngsters who could play an important role for their respective teams in the World Cup.

The 2023 CWC will begin with defending champions England taking on runners-up New Zealand on October 05 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.


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