There are a number of special young players looking to make their mark on the game in the coming months. Some of these names will be familiar while others have yet to really get a chance on the international stage.
10 Young Cricketers We Should Pay Attention To
1. Rishabh Pant (India)
In a short space of time, Rishabh Pant rose through the ranks to become India’s first choice wicket keeper in all three formats. He is known for his positive and innovative approach to batting and his power hitting has been effective in red ball and white ball cricket.
Pant’s first 30 test matches have produced four hundreds and a highest score of 159. He also has two centuries in domestic T20 cricket and his maturity has been rewarded with the captaincy of Delhi Daredevils.
He’s already been around for a while but, at the age of just 24, there will be much more to come from Rishabh Pant in 2022 and beyond.
2. Sam Curran (England)
Injuries robbed England of Sam Curran’s services in 2021 and the team could have really used his talents in what was a difficult year for the national set up. A genuine all-rounder, capable of turning a game with bat and ball, the left hander was named Player of the Series against India in 2018 when he was just 20 years of age.
He’ll be 24 in 2022 and hoping for an injury free year which will allow him to establish himself in the national set up once again. Sam Curran has impressive statistics in all formats but it’s felt that he will be most effective in limited overs cricket moving forward.
3. Naseem Shah (Pakistan)
One of a number of young Pakistan bowlers capable of delivering at high speeds, Naseem Shah may just be the quickest of them all. He’s also the youngest player on this list, having turned 19 in February 2022.
Naseem made his debut for Pakistan at the age of just 16. He was the ninth youngest player to appear in a test match and he bowled with pace and hostility in that opening game against Australia.
The bowler has since gone on to claim 26 wickets in his first eleven tests. He has yet to be used by Pakistan in limited overs cricket but 2022 could be the year for Naseem Shah to prove himself in all forms of the game.
4. Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
A man who needs no introduction, Rashid Khan burst onto the scene as a teenage leg spinner and has been at the height of his powers ever since. The leg spinner turns 24 in 2022 and he should be looking forward to many more years at the top.
It could even be said that Rashid’s quality may have been a catalyst for Afghanistan to be granted full test status. Without him in the team, it’s debatable whether they would have had the quality needed to be admitted by the ICC.
As for his figures, Rashid will be looking to pass the milestone of 300 international wickets in 2022. He’s already taken 7-fors in a test match and in ODI cricket while he’s a player in huge demand for T20 franchises all over the world.
He’s a decent batter too and has already appeared at the top of the ICC all-rounder rankings. At the start of 2022, Rashid Khan had made six half centuries in international cricket with a best of 60 not out.
5. Shaheen Shah Afridi (Pakistan)
A left arm seamer with swing and pace, Shaheen Shah Afridi is already established at international level with Pakistan. He’s still only 22 but he is set to pass 100 international appearances across the three formats in 2022.
Afridi is another player whose emergence has been rewarded with captaincy duties. He has led the Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League and it’s said that he may skipper the national side in the future.
In terms of his statistics, Shaheen Shah Afridi now has more than 200 international wickets. His best return came via figures of 6/31 in a One Day International, but he also has six five wicket hauls in all forms of the game.
He can only continue to grow and deliver impressive results for Pakistan and his domestic teams in 2022 and beyond.
6. Ollie Pope (England)
Will 2022 be the year that Ollie Pope finally delivers on the international stage? He has impressive statistics in first class cricket and already has a test hundred but has yet to fully deliver in an England shirt.
There is no doubting his talent: At the age of 24, Pope averages over 50 in first class cricket with 13 centuries and a best of 274. In test matches, that figure drops to 28.66 at the start of 2022 and that’s something he will need to address.
With a new regime moving into the English national set up, we may well see Ollie Pope get an extended run in the test team. It may be a last chance to prove himself, but he’ll certainly be a force for his county team Surrey for many more years to come.
7. Zak Crawley (England)
Like his international teammate Ollie Pope, Zak Crawley has yet to consistently hold down a place in England’s test side but he’s another batter with some serious talent. Following England’s tour of the West Indies in March 2022, the opener was averaging just 28.60 in test cricket, but many feel he’s a far better player than his numbers suggest.
In 2020, Crawley made a brilliant 267 against Pakistan and that’s why the England selectors have kept faith in him for so long. While on that tour of the West Indies in 2022, the Kent batter finally added a second test hundred and maybe that will be the catalyst for more consistency moving forward.
Zak Crawley has also appeared in three ODIs for England and could be an option in the shorter formats in the future. He’s another player who turns 24 in 2022 and will be anxious to finally deliver on his huge potential.
8. Tom Banton (England)
A player who specializes in white ball cricket, Tom Banton has been looking to make an impact in England’s T20 side since making his debut against New Zealand in 2019. He’s yet to really establish himself at international level although Banton has made three half centuries in 20 games across the ODI and T20 formats.
In domestic cricket, Banton has impressed for Somerset on a more consistent basis. He has two hundreds in T20 matches and that’s probably the biggest indicator that there is much more to come from this young batter. Tom Banton is yet another player set to celebrate his 24th birthday in 2022 and he’ll be hoping to become a more regular selection for England as the year develops.
9. Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan)
Like his compatriot and teammate Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman is an effective mystery spinner for Afghanistan at international level. He’s still very young, having passed his 21st birthday in 2022 but he’s already featured in a number of high profile tournaments, including the Indian Premier League.
Mujeeb is a versatile bowler. He is technically classed as an off spinner, but he is equally adept at sending down leg breaks and fast turning googlies. In his first 73 matches for Afghanistan, he claimed 111 wickets and that return includes two five-fors in limited overs games.
He was the youngest player to take five wickets in an ODI at the age of just 16 years and 325 days. Injuries have affected his young career at times but, if he can stay fit, Mujeeb will have a big future ahead of him.
10. Harry Brook (England)
A name that won’t be familiar to cricket fans outside of England, Harry Brook is an exceptional young talent. He’s already appeared for the national side in a T20i against the West Indies at the start of 2022 and this promises to be a breakthrough year for the youngster.
Brook is slightly younger than many of his English contemporaries at just 23 and he’s been impressive for his county Yorkshire in all three main formats. He already has five first class centuries with a highest score of 124 and he has a hundred in domestic T20 cricket.
At a time when England are looking for multi-purpose batters who can adapt to all situations, 2022 promises to be a very important year in the career of Harry Brook.