Football has Messi-Ronaldo when it comes to advertising the FIFA World Cup. Similarly, Cricket has the likes of Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Faf du Plessis, Kane Williamson and many more.
But no sport can ever survive by simply glorifying the “Big-guns” of the game. The young blood is necessary to make sure the new generation sits in front of the TV to watch the game and to assure everyone that the future of the sport is just as exciting as the present.
And if the 2018 FIFA World Cup had Kylian Mbappe for that, cricket has its own list of debutants. From new Kings of the death bowling to Mr Dependable in the batting order, here are the ten best debutants in World Cup 2019:
10Shai Hope (West Indies):
Since the introduction of the T20 Cricket, West Indians have really made a name for themselves in exceptional hitting. But in that mix, they have rarely found a dependable batsman to bat through the innings. That is where the 25-year old Shai Hope comes in.
The Barbados-born has been the vital cog in the Caribbean batting line-up since his debut in 2016. Hope has scored 2247 runs in 50 innings at an average of 50. In the recently concluded Tri-Series in Ireland, he was named Man of the Series for 470 runs in 5 games. Hope currently sits 4th in the Batting ranking and in the World Cup campaign where West Indies have not much to look forward to, Shai Hope’s performances can bring a smile to their face.
9Hardik Pandya (India):
All-rounders are one of the most important factors in balancing any ODI side. But India has not always been blessed with exceptional all-rounders, especially fast-bowling all-rounder. But in the form of Hardik Pandya, Kohli has both, a hard-hitting and fearless batsman and a bowler who can do more than just ball an over to change ends for the main bowler.
Pandya’s explosive batting will be especially helpful as India will look to end up with big totals after getting starts from Rohit and Kohli. And with MS Dhoni finding it a little difficult to cross the finishing line during the chase nowadays, Pandya’s IPL experience will come in handy. And although there are a few question marks over it or not he can bowl 10 overs, he can definitely bag a wicket when you least expect him to.
Only time can tell if Pandya can pull the Kapil Dev of 1983 or Yuvraj Singh of 2011, but for now, India has a trump card in their squad.
8Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh):
The 23-year old Mustarizur Rahman has been one of the best fast bowlers since the 2015 World Cup. He has taken 83 wickets in 46 matches at an average of just 22.28. And despite bowling both at the start and during the death overs, ‘The Fizz’ has managed to keep his economy rate under 5.
In the country where overhead conditions are as unpredictable as Bangladesh’s performances, Mustafizur can make life difficult for any batting line-up even if he gets a little help from the pitch. He was not at his best in the past few months with injuries and everything, but a 4-43 against West Indies a few days ago showed what ‘The Fizz’ can do when he gets going.
7Adam Zampa (Australia):
Right arm-leg break Adam Zampa leg break, Adam Zampa’s career has been far from smooth sailing. Thanks to his bowling style and looks, Zampa always finds himself being compared with Shane Warne.
While that may be too big a shoes to fill in, Adam Zampa is definitely a crucial part of Australia’s World Cup campaign. The 27-year old has taken 60 wickets in 44 innings with an economy of 5.6. The leggie has been especially on a roll in 2019, with 7 wickets in 5 games against Australia and 11 in 5 against India.
6Jonny Bairstow (England):
The new, Eoin Morgan-led England is completely ruthless! And the destruction starts right at top of the batting order with Jonny Bairstow. The wicket-keeper batsman has the strike-rate of 109 post-2015 World Cup with 7 centuries. He also averages 50 during that period, with 2210 runs in 51 innings.
The 29-year old, along with Jason Roy (also in the list) gets England to a flying start more often than not and one of them sticks around for a big inning. In the recent series against Pakistan, Bairstow scored 211 runs in just 3 innings at the strike rate of 132!
5Kagiso Rabada (South Africa):
When you are considered the main bowler in the attack which also has Dale Styne in it, you must be something special. And trust us, Kagiso Rabada is special!
Rabada has been leading South Africa’s bowling attack for more than a year and done an exceptional job so far. The 24-year old has taken 106 wickets in just 66 ODIs at an economy of 4.98 – Scary numbers for a guy who debuted just 4 years ago. Rabada is great with the new ball but his death bowling is simply brilliant. (You still remember his Yorker which destroyed Andre Russell’s wickets in the super over, don’t you?)
4Babar Azam (Pakistan):
Babar Azam made his ODI debut in 2015, at the tender age of 20. But what we didn’t know back then was the fact that he was already a matured batsman ready to take the care of Pakistan’s middle order.
Since his debut, Babar has scored 2739 runs in 62 innings at an average of 51.68. Currently 7th in ICC rankings, he has also scored 9 centuries so far, including three consecutive against West Indies. Babar scored 277 runs in 5 games against England a few weeks ago and has enough experience of playing in the UK to lead Pakistan’s batting order for the upcoming World Cup.
3Rashid Khan (Afghanistan):
The man who needs no introduction. If it wasn’t for Rashid Khan’s leg spin, other nine teams would have probably considered a game against Afghanistan as just another game in the World Cup. But now, every coach must have prepared a slideshow about how to tackle the 20-year old sensation.
And there is every reason to do so. Rashid has taken 125 wickets in 58 games since his debut in 2015. With the average of just 15 and economy of 3.9, no other bowler comes even close to his stats. Playing in his first World Cup, Rashid is already the vice-captain of his team and if he gets going, Afghanistan can definitely upset a few World Cup favourites.
2Jason Roy (England):
With no respect for the opposition bowler and no fear of getting out, Jason Roy is definitely one of the most dangerous opening batsmen out there. The 28-year old made his debut in 2015 and has scored 2938 runs in 74 innings since then. Only Joe Root and Eoin Morgan have scored more runs for England during that period.
Jason, along with Bairstow, is likely to be the next explosive opening pair of the World Cup after Jayasuriya-Kaluwitharana for Sri Lanka during 1996 and Hayden-Gilchrist during 2003 and 2007.
1Jasprit Bumrah (India):
Currently the best bowler in ODI Cricket, Jasprit Bumrah has to be the best debutant to look out for in the upcoming World Cup. No 1 in ICC rankings, Bumrah has taken 85 wickets in just 49 matches with an economy of 4.51.
The 25-year old has solved India’s life-long problem of death bowling and has mastered the art of bowling inch-perfect Yorkers. Economical at the start, partnership breaker in the middle and deadly at the death, Bumrah delivers every time Kohli hands him the ball.
With Bumrah at his best, India will have nothing to worry about in their bowling attack. And with already not much to worry about in the batting attack, India is amongst favourites for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.