Right from his teens, Prithvi has been touted as a precocious talent and something of a batting prodigy. He shot to fame when he scored 546 runs off 330 balls for his school Rizvi Springfield in the Harris Shield, which is an age group cricket tournament in 2013. In November 2016, Prithvi was part of the Under-19 squad that won the youth Asia Cup. Within a couple of months, he made his debut for Mumbai in the semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy and scored a century on debut against Tamil Nadu. The next year he became the youngest player to score a century in Duleep Trophy breaking the record of Sachin Tendulkar. He was the captain of India’s Under-19 World Cup squad, in the tournament which India went on to win. Based on his exploits he was bought for INR 1.2 crore by the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL auction in 2018. He impressed one and all with his performances in the IPL scoring 245 runs in 9 matches at a batting average of 27.22 and a strike rate of 153.12.
A common criticism by pundits about today’s young cricketers is that they lack the temperament to play long innings and excel in Tests. However, Prithvi put these doubts to rest by scoring a brilliant 134 on his Test debut against West Indies, which was the 3rd fastest century by a Test player on debut. He became the 2nd youngest Indian and the 7thyoungest overall to score a century in Test cricket. Such is the impact that Prithvi has made in his short international career that when he suffered an injury in a practice match at the SCG during India’s tour of Australia, it was considered a huge blow to India’s chances. With India struggling to put up decent opening partnerships in Tests, Prithvi is likely to walk into India’s Test team when he returns from injury. The 2019 World Cup may be a little too soon for him as India have a settled top 3 but if he progresses at the rate, he could set the stage on fire in the Tests against West Indies in the Caribbean and push for a berth in the shorter formats as well.
Thanks to the furore, that has led to Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul being recalled to India, Shubhman has been included in India’s squad for the limited overs series against New Zealand. Shubhman was considered so mature beyond his years, that he always played in an age group above his own. In 2014, he scored 351 in Punjab’s Inter-District Under-16 and shared a record opening stand of 587 with Nirmal Singh. He also won an award for the BCCI best junior cricketer in 2013-14 and 2014-15. He was named vice-captain of India’s Under-19 World Cup team in 2018. He scored 418 runs at a stupendous batting average of 104.5 in the tournament, batting at the pivotal number 3 position and scored a match-winning unbeaten 102 in the semi-final against Pakistan. He was adjudged the Player of the tournament for that edition and the ICC named him as the rising star of the squad. Following his exploits, he was bought by the Kolkata Knight Riders for INR 1.8 crore in the 2018 IPL auction. He played 13 matches for KKR and scored 203 runs at 33.83 with a highest score of 57 at a batting strike rate of 146.04. He is normally an opener but with the Indian team lacking depth in the middle order, there is an outside chance of him seizing the opportunity in New Zealand and cementing his place in the World Cup squad.
Archer is a Barbadian born cricketer who has a English father and therefore an English passport. Archer played for the West Indian U-19 team 3 times in 2014 but has stated his intention of playing for England. In November 2018, the ECB announced a change in its eligibility rules reducing the period from 7 years to 3 years. Therefore, Archer is eligible to play for England from January 2019. Archer is an all-rounder capable of bowling at around 90 MPH and is also a dangerous lower order batsman capable of big hits. He made his First-Class debut for Sussex in July 2016 and his List A debut also in the same month. He was bought by Rajasthan Royals in the IPL auction for GBP 800,000 and won a Man of the Match award against Mumbai Indians on 22nd April 2018. Archer is one of the players who has a taken a hat-trick in Twenty20 cricket, when he took one against Middlesex in the last over of the game on 2nd August 2018.
Archer took 15 wickets in 10 matches in the IPL at a bowling average of 15.66 and a bowling strike rate of 15.33 but did not contribute much with the bat. He is a man of immense potential and even though the English selectors have been guarded in saying that he is by no means an automatic certainty in their squad when he becomes eligible, they will definitely give his credentials serious consideration. An outing at the international level is just the fillip that he needs to become one of the shining stars of world cricket.
Until the months preceding the auction for the 12th edition of the IPL, Dubey was a relatively unknown name in cricketing circles even though he made his First-Class debut in December 2017 for Mumbai against Karnataka. He is a left-handed explosive batsman capable of big hits, while bowling right arm medium pace. He first appeared on the radar in March 2018 when he struck 5 sixes of experienced leg-spinner, Pravin Tambe in a Mumbai T20 league fixture. In the final of the DY Patil T20 tournament he scored a valuable 34 and picked up 3/7 in a match-winning spell for BPCL. He further cemented his reputation when he struck 5 sixes off 5 deliveries of left-arm spinner, Swapnil Singh in a Ranji Trophy game for Mumbai against Baroda. He has a First-Class batting average of 50.71 with 2 centuries but for the moment the Twenty20 format is one in which he is more likely to make a mark. The 2019 World Cup may be a little too soon for him but it is worth giving him a chance in T20Is with the 2020 WT20 in mind.
Even though he made his international debut nearly 2 years ago in 2017, it was only at the end of 2018 that Hetmyer made his mark on the international scene. He is a left-handed batsman with a wide range of shots who is particularly severe against the spinners and looks to go downtown against them at every opportunity. In 20 ODIs, he has scored 758 runs at an average of 37.9 with 3 centuries and 2 fifties with an impressive strike rate of 106.91. He was the skipper of the West Indies when they won their Under-19 title in Bangladesh in 2015-16. He was picked by the CPL franchise, Guyana Amazon Warriors for the 2016 edition of the tournament. In 2018, he became the youngest player to score a century in the CPL against the Jamaica Tallawahs. In an ODI series against India away from home in October 2018, he scored 259 runs in 5 ODIs at a stupendous batting average of 51.8 and an astounding batting strike rate of 140. This performance came at the right time as he was bought by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for INR 4.2 crore in the 2018 auction. He could be one of the shining stars in the 2019 World Cup.
Pooran is a left-handed wicketkeeper batsman who plays for Trinidad and Tobago in West Indies domestic league and for Red Steel in the Caribbean Premier League. In 2014, he became the youngest player to appear in the CPL. In the 2014 Youth World Cup, he scored 303 in 6 matches for the West Indies. His innings of 143 against Australia was the highest in the tournament and was considered one of the best innings in the entire tournament. He scored an unbeaten 53 off just 25 balls against India in a T20I in November 2018, showcasing his potential to the IPL scouts. In the 2018 IPL auction he was bought by Kings XI Punjab for 4.2 crore. He has so far only represented West Indies in T20Is but has an outside chance to make their 2019 World Cup squad. The fact that he is a wicket-keeper is another string to his bow.
Curran was voted by the ICC as one of the 5 breakout stars in 2018. During India’s tour of England in 2018, the visitors had the hosts on the ropes on many occasions but Sam always came to their rescue and his quick cameos was one of the main reasons for England winning the series 4-1. Even though he was initially considered a bowling all-rounder, he batted so well against India that it led to debates as to whether he would become a batting all-rounder. Considering the plethora of all-rounders, that England have in Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes, there will be a lot of competition for places in England’s lower order but Sam has made a terrific start to his international career. He is still not assured a place in England’s World Cup squad but if chosen he could make a mark on the tournament with his audacious batting and handy left arm swing bowling. His consistent performances in the international Test scene led to Kings XI Punjab buying him for 7.2 crore. 2019 could be the year when Curran cements his place for England across all 3 formats.
In this era, wicket-keepers are not expected to just take all the catches that come their way and be competent with the gloves but are also expected to contribute with the bat. Taking that into account, Foakes can be considered extremely unfortunate to be competing for a place in England’s team at a time when Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler are likely to be chosen because of their superior batting skills. There is no doubt that he is by far the best wicket-keeper of the 3 and he took advantage of Bairstow’s injury ahead of the Test series against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. He scored 277 runs in 6 innings at an average of 69.25 with a century and a fifty and his glove work was immaculate. In fact, even when Bairstow regained full fitness, Joe Root preferred to retain Foakes in the playing XI and Foakes has repaid that faith with a brilliant start to his international career. It is unlikely that Foakes will make the 2019 World Cup squad but he can certainly put his hand up by performing at his best in the 3 Test series in the Caribbean. If he does well in that series, the Ashes against Australia which commences in August 2019 will be an ideal opportunity for him to become England’s regular keeper in the Test arena.
First Published: January 4, 2019, 9:37 PM IST