ROHIT SANKAR | 13 JULY, 2019
Newbies Who Made a Splash This World Cup
Precious finds for their teams
So the World Cup final will see England and New Zealand grit it out for the trophy. We will have a new winner for the first time since Sri Lanka took the trophy in 1996, and the hosts, long tournament favourites, will face a stiff challenge from the dark horse Kiwis.
While several big guns fired this World Cup, quite a few youngsters also had a ball – here’s a look at some of the upcoming players who had a stellar World Cup 2019.
Alex Carey (Australia)
A wounded jaw, a spirited fight and an outstanding partnership with Steven Smith in the semi-finals against England – Alex Carey's World Cup could be summed up in this show of resolve in the World Cup semi-finals after being hit on the jaw by a Jofra Archer bouncer.
The Australian wicket-keeper batsman was picked as the sole keeper in the team for the World Cup. Quite a few eyebrows were raised when Australia chose him as the only keeper in the World Cup team. Carey had been decent but not so overwhelmingly as to earn a consistent place in the playing XI. With him as sole keeper, Australia seemed to be taking a massive gamble, but Carey put all that to rest with an astounding performance in the World Cup.
He made 375 runs in 10 matches at the World Cup at an average of 62.5. He was also special behind the stumps, making 20 dismissals, the most by any keeper in a World Cup after Adam Gilchrist's 21 in 2003.
From an underdog to a star, Carey had a terrific World Cup.
Nicholas Pooran (West Indies)
Another wicket-keeper batsman to thrive was Nicholas Pooran. He had played just one ODI prior to the World Cup and was a surprise selection in the West Indian squad. And Pooran celebrated his inclusion in the team with a spirited knock against Royal Challengers Bangalore for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL.
Cometh the World Cup, the West Indies once again sprung a surprise by starting with Pooran. He played a quickfire cameo against Pakistan in the Windies' first match to secure his place in the eleven.
Pooran went on to end the tournament as his side’s highest run-scorer, with 367 runs in 9 matches at an average of 52.42 and a strike rate well above 100. With the West Indies seeking consistency from their middle order, Pooran raised his hand and delivered.
He ended the World Cup with a century against Sri Lanka in the final group game, and will be remembered as one of the young stars of World Cup 2019.
Jofra Archer (England)
A controversial selection in England’s World Cup team, Jofra Archer made his presence felt with an astounding performance in the tournament at home. The seamer had acquired a worldwide following for his brilliant performances in T20 leagues, but to replicate those at International level right away in a big tournament like the World Cup sets him apart from the rest.
Archer's fiery new ball spells alongside Chris Woakes played a huge role in England's journey to the tournament final. He bowled a disconcerting back of a length pitch and hit the deck hard to generate bounce and movement.
Archer has 19 wickets in the tournament from 10 matches at an average of 22.05. If he takes more than one wicket in the finals, he will end as the second highest wicket taker in the World Cup, a considerable achievement for someone with so little international experience.
Shaheen Shah Afridi (Pakistan)
A new ball gun for Pakistan, Shaheen Shah Afridi overshadowed Mohammad Amir's outstanding World Cup in the tournament’s latter half. The 19-year old left arm seamer was a different bowler in the final few matches for Pakistan, and wound up their second-highest wicket taker with 16 wickets in five matches at a stunning average of 14.6.
Once he had found the right length to bowl on English surfaces, Afridi was unstoppable with the new ball, and dismantled teams with his pace and movement off the deck. In his final three league matches he left a lasting impression on the the World Cup. He took 3/28 in a massive win over New Zealand, following it up with 4/47 against Afghanistan and then 6/35 against Bangladesh.
13 of Afridi’s 16 wickets came in these final three league matches – clearly he will be a lynchpin of Pakistan's bowling attack for some time yet.
Avishka Fernando (Sri Lanka)
The World Cup’s brightest star had perhaps the least chance to create an impression, but Avishka Fernando made the most of his limited opportunities to showcase an amazing repertoire of skills. The right hander, who had an unceremonious international debut in 2016 as an 18-year old, returned to the ODI team earlier this year and became a surprise selection in the World Cup team.
He had to bide his time in the sidelines but once he got a chance, Fernando made it count. He notched up 203 runs in the four innings he batted, at an average of 50.75 and a strike rate greater than 100.
In his first appearance, Fernando made an instant impression by taking on Jofra Archer in a stroke-filled 49. His spectacular hundred against the West Indies, the first in his ODI career, stands out for being one of only two centuries struck by Sri Lankans in the tournament.
Fernando’s Man of the Match performance against the West Indies and his amazing strokeplaying elegance truly make him one of the finds of this World Cup.