10 Young Cricket Stars of the Future at the U19 World Cup
With the thrilling group phase of the 2014 Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) coming to an end earlier this week, we are now a step closer to finding out exactly which nation will be crowned the best in the world.
And with the global showpiece event having already produced a series of eye-catching displays from a number of highly promising players, we take a look at 10 young cricket stars of the future who have shone so far at the tournament.
Kagiso Rabada (South Africa)
The 18-year-old paceman did not take long to catch the eye with a devastating spell of fast—and when I say fast, I really mean fast—bowling in the very first match of the tournament against West Indies earlier this week in Dubai.
The speedster, who inevitably models himself on Proteas fast bowler Dale Steyn, blew away the Calypso Kings' batting lineup with a fiery spell of 3 for 14 in his eight overs, which included impressive figures of 3 for 9, including three maidens, from his opening six overs.
And considering that Rabada is already capable of generating speed of up to 90mph, this young man is most definitely someone to be monitoring closely in the future.
Sarfaraz Khan (India)
The 16-year-old batting all-rounder from Mumbai entered this tournament with a lot of hype and expectations on his shoulders, especially after scoring a memorable century off only 66 balls against South Africa in Visakhapatnam last year.
However, it took the youngster all of one match to confirm his immense promise and, what's more, Sarfaraz could not have picked a better opponent in which to demonstrate his undoubted class as the holders overcame arch-rivals Pakistan in Dubai.
It was Sarfaraz's man-of-the-match display that sent India on their way to a 40-run win in Group A, with the youngster compiling 74 vital runs to help his side recover from the dangers of 94 for 4 to post an impressive total of 262 for 7.
But Sarfaraz was not finished there, though, as his one wicket, four catches and a run-out saw Pakistan dismissed for 222, showing this is a player with great all-around promise for the future.
Tagenarine Chanderpaul (West Indies)
It is most definitely a case of like father, like son as far as Chanderpaul Jnr is concerned.
Tagenarine, who made his first-class debut for Guyana at the age of just 16, took all of one match in which to catch the eye in the U19 World Cup, as West Indies thrashed Zimbabwe by 167 runs in their Group C opener in Abu Dhabi last Sunday.
And not for the first time when it comes to the men from the Caribbean, their imposing 50-over total of 275 for 6 was based around a top score from a certain Chanderpaul.
However, on this occasion, it was 17-year-old left-handed opener Tagenarine whose patient unbeaten 84 from 135 balls, with six fours, that gave West Indies their platform for victory.
But for all those bowlers around the world who have been gleefully awaiting the day when Shiv finally decides to hang up his bat, there is bad news around the corner in the shape of Tagenarine Chanderpaul...
Jake Doran (Australia)
The Aussies may currently be well stocked with a crop of world-class wicketkeepers; however, do not be shocked at all if 17-year-old Jake Doran is soon knocking on the selectors' door.
Cricket obviously runs in the New South Welshman's family, with the stumper's older brother Luke, a tidy left-arm spinner, having represented his country at the 2010 U19 World Cup.
However, now it is Jake's time to shine, although the 'keeper has already been in the headlines after he was selected to play for the Cricket Australia Chairman's XI against the touring England team in Alice Springs last November when still just a 16-year-old schoolboy, with Doran making 17 runs.
Having been likened to former Aussie batting star Mike Hussey by Cricket Australia's National Talent Manager Greg Chappell, it would be a major surprise if we did not see Doran donning the famous baggy green cap at some point in the coming years.
Jonathan Tattersall (England)
England may ultimately have lost their second Group D clash with Sri Lanka in Dubai in heart-breaking fashion; however, the outstanding batting display of Yorkshire tyro Jonathan Tattersall was a huge positive for everyone involved with the team.
The 19-year-old top-scored after making a brilliant 95 from only 120 balls—the highest score in the entire match—in a clever and patiently constructed innings in which only 24 of his runs came via boundaries, albeit with two sixes.
And if his knock was eerily reminiscent of those of another young Yorkshire batting star, Joe Root, then that is because the two men appear to have a lot in common, including Tattersall's preference for opening the batting for his country.
Now time will tell whether after being handed a two-year contract by the county in 2013, Tattersall can also follow in Root's footsteps by making it into the senior England team.
Sadeera Samarawickrama (Sri Lanka)
Already Sri Lanka opener Sadeera Samarawickram looks like being a star in the making for his country, with his man-of-the-match display against England in the thrilling Group D contest in Dubai last Sunday surely the performance of a batsman destined for great things.
The 18-year-old made a brilliant 82 from just 89 balls with 10 fours—the same number of boundaries that England managed in their entire 50 overs—to build the platform for his side's narrow one-wicket victory with only six balls remaining in the match.
And if the right-handed batsman, who can also keep wicket, carries on making run-scoring look so easy, then it will surely just be a matter of time before he also joins fellow graduates from St Joseph's College in Maradana in Colombo, such as Chaminda Vaas, Thisara Perera and current national captain Angelo Mathews, in the senior Sri Lanka setup.
Chayank Gosain (Scotland)
The left-arm spinner was almost the architect behind one of the upsets of the competition in Dubai on Monday as Scotland gave holders India an almighty scare in their Group A meeting.
Chasing just 89 for victory, the underdogs decided to ask the 18-year-old to open the bowling against the country of his birth, and the surprise move very nearly paid off as Gosain dismissed the first three batsman inside the opening four overs to send a shiver through the Indian dressing room.
However, in the end, despite an outstanding spell of 3 for 31 from his 10 overs, the favourites recovered from a perilous position of 22 for 5 to win by five wickets, although the man who models his game on fellow left-armers Daniel Vettori and Rangana Herath left an indelible mark on all those watching.
Deepak Hooda (India)
The 18-year-old off-break bowler really shot to prominence in the holders’ opening match of their defence of the U19 World Cup when he took a five-for against arch-enemy Pakistan in their Group A clash in Dubai.
Hooda had earlier made a more-than-useful contribution with the bat with 22 not out from just 18 balls; however, it was with ball in hand that his country were really relying on him.
The young tweaker did not disappoint, returning India's most impressive bowling figures of 5 for 41 from his allotted 10 overs to help spin the defending champions to a 40-run win.
And judging how well Hooda coped with the inevitable pressure that comes with being expected to bowl your side to victory on a surface taking prodigious spin, the offie looks like being one for the future.
Yaseen Valli (South Africa)
South African all-rounder Yaseen Valli has clearly used the disappointment of being replaced as captain by Aiden Markram last year to spur himself on to bigger and better things in this competition, judging by his eye-catching performances with both bat and ball in the group phase so far.
The 18-year-old has been on hand on more than a few occasions to extricate his side from a tricky situation and already the softly-spoken Valli, who comes from Indian origins but was born in Johannesburg, looks like possessing an extremely mature head on his young shoulders.
So do not be surprised one iota if Valli finds himself following in the same illustrious footsteps of fellow King Edwards VII school alumni and current Proteas skipper Graeme Smith by breaking into the senior side at some point soon.
Kuldeep Yadav (India)
The 19-year-old from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, is that rarest or rare breeds, a left-arm chinaman bowler, but it appears as though his unorthodoxy is also turning out to be the strongest weapon in his armoury in this tournament if his man-of-the-match display against Scotland in Dubai on Monday is anything to go by.
In that Group A clash, Yadav became the first Indian in the history of the competition to take a hat-trick as the holders dismissed the Scots for just 88, with the tweaker finishing up with memorable figures of 4 for 28 from his 10 overs in his side's five-wicket victory.
And given that this is someone who bamboozled Sachin Tendulkar by bowling the legendary batsman a wrong 'un in the nets when part of the Mumbai Indians squad a few years ago, we may just be watching the start of yet another brilliant Indian spinner's career here in the UAE.