Ten youngsters to impress in the 2023 World Cup
The 2023 World Cup has produced some top-class cricketing action, with fans and viewers enjoying every bit of it. There have been numerous marvellous performances in all aspects, with the players showing their superior skillsets. There is quality in every team, which has engaged everyone even more.
While it’s harsh to pinpoint a particular set of players, the youngsters of every team have indeed taken centre stage in most games. The young guns haven’t missed the opportunities to showcase their expertise and stamp their authority. It’s them who have actually risen to the occasion for their respective teams throughout this tournament.
Along the same lines, we look at the ten best under-23 players who have impressed one and all in the World Cup 2023.
Rachin Ravindra (New Zealand)
Ravindra had amassed 415 runs at a magnificent average of 69.16, striking at 105.59 this World Cup before the game against New Zealand and went on to smash another ton on Saturday. The southpaw also has two fifties and three centuries. In the absence of Kane Williamson, Rachin Ravindra has owned the No. 3 spot, and he will definitely bat a lot more in the top order in the coming years.
Rachin has also scalped three wickets. There is so much potential in him, and Rachin will rule the cricketing world from now on. By the time the next World Cup arrives in 2027, Rachin Ravindra will be an established player with much to offer for the Blackcaps.
Ibrahim Zadran (Afghanistan)
Ibrahim Zadran has been an ever-consistent ODI batter for Afghanistan. Since making his debut in 2019, Zadran has only excelled with time. If any doubts were left, he has sidelined them with his impressive performance in World Cup 2023.
Ibrahim Zadran has 232 runs, averaging 33.14 and striking at 72.50 in seven innings this World Cup. The 21-year-old has also hit a fifty. While these numbers might not look as good, he has batted impressively.
Zadran has been so eye-catching at times, and he has looked comfortable facing top-class bowlers. Ibrahim could indeed have been better, but the potential is massive, and that’s the primary reason for his inclusion in this elite list. Those who have watched him bat live must be impressed with the ingredients in his batting.
Abdullah Shafique (Pakistan)
Abdullah Shafique is a generational talent, and it was visible straightaway when he busted on the competitive level. He has proved himself again by performing superbly in his debut World Cup. Despite the chaos, Shafique has managed to shine brightly, offering a glimmer of hope for Pakistan amidst many setbacks.
Abdullah Shafique has 332 runs at an average of 55.33 while striking at a terrific 95.12. He has also accumulated three fifties and a century in six innings. The 23-year-old has played some gorgeous shots in the middle, and it won’t be an exaggeration to rank him very high among the most eye-pleasing batters in the world.
Abdullah Shafique’s ability to handle different kinds of bowlers adeptly makes him a world-class talent. He will have a permanent spot in the team now. It won’t be surprising if he breaks batting records with his superior talent in the coming time.
Azmatullah Omarzai (Afghanistan)
There is a palpable talent in Azmatullah Omarzai. Every time he is on the field, Omarzai makes things happen. And he has made things happen in the World Cup 2023 as well.
Omarzai has 234 runs at an average of 58.50 and a strike rate of 99.15 in six ODI innings this World Cup. He also has two fifties. Meanwhile, Azamtullah has also taken 5 wickets at 36 balls apiece.
Azmatullah Omarzai has plenty to offer to Afghanistan, and players like him are arduous to find. The 23-year-old has just started. He should be a world-beater if his talent is anything to judge by.
Marco Jansen (South Africa)
Talent was never questionable with Marco Jansen. And he has shown it in surplus this World Cup. Jansen has provided the much-required balance and depth to the Proteas.
Marco Jansen has 143 runs at a whopping 128.82 in six World Cup innings. His stronger suit - bowling - has been mighty effective. Jansen has 16 wickets at 20.06 runs apiece in seven innings.
The 23-year-old has been tremendous with the ball while playing a decent role with the bat. He is another prodigy with a bright future. Jansen must accomplish numerous feats in international cricket by the time he ends his career.
Dilshan Madushanka (Sri Lanka)
Who saw it coming? While Dilshan Madushanka was always a bright talent, no one thought him to bowl so well. He has easily been among the best bowlers of the World Cup 2023.
Dilshan Madushanka has 18 wickets at a terrific average of 22.11 and a strike rate of 20.66 in seven World Cup innings. He also has one four-wicket and a five-wicket haul. His ability to move the new ball is specifically impressive.
Madushanka has troubled almost every batter he has bowled to, especially in the powerplay. The 23-year-old has been among the few positives for Sri Lanka in this campaign. Madushanka should continue his rise and can be the leader of the pack in the coming years.
Noor Ahmad (Afghanistan)
There have been plenty of youngsters impressing for Afghanistan in this World Cup. Noor Ahmad is among them. While he might have played only two games, Noor has shown his expertise straightaway.
He has 5 wickets at 16 runs apiece in two innings. Noor has a range of variations, and he has troubled the batters fairly. After his IPL success, he has found immediate success in the mega event.
The 18-year-old has a knack of picking wickets. Afghanistan have always produced some top-class bowlers, and Noor is another fine talent. Noor Ahmad should be a regular in the XI once this World Cup ends.
Gerald Coetzee (South Africa)
Gerald Coetzee is a quintessential pacer. He has pace, bounce and the fast bowler’s aggression. But Coetzee has managed to keep himself adaptable and flexible, and that’s the most impressive thing about him.
Gerald Coetzee has 14 wickets, averaging 21.78 and striking at 19 in six World Cup innings. He has bowled amazingly well in every game. Coetzee has that X-factor, and it was one of the reasons for his inclusion.
South Africa have produced some great pace bowlers over the years. Coetzee is going to be a great himself should he keep working on his game and improve with time. It won’t be surprising if Gerald Coetzee ends up landing several T20 league deals as well.
Shoriful Islam (Bangladesh)
It’s hard to find a bowler like Shoriful Islam in Bangladesh. It’s been a disappointing campaign for Bangladesh, but Shoriful has bowled well. His ability to move the new ball and bowl shrewdly in the death overs makes him a class apart.
Shoriful Islam has 8 wickets at 44.75 runs apiece in seven World Cup innings. The numbers don’t reflect the true story. Shoriful has bowled much better.
The 22-year-old has made a significant rise this year, and he is expected only to continue growing. Whenever he bowls, there is a lot of talent and determination visible. Shoriful Islam has been a supremely talented pacer, and he should be among the most consistent bowlers very soon.
Shaheen Afridi (Pakistan)
Shaheen Afridi might be a surprising name, but he is only 23, at least on paper. He is so good that he makes an impression every time. Shaheen has become the leader of Pakistan’s pace group in such a short span.
Shaheen Afridi has 16 wickets at an average of 19.93 and a strike rate of 22.87 in seven innings this World Cup. He also has a five-wicket haul. It’s not surprising at all, given the kind of talent he possesses.
There were some doubts regarding his new-ball expertise, but Shaheen has mitigated them after his top-class powerplay bowling against Bangladesh. He has still a long way to go. But Shaheen Afridi is certain to end up as one of the finest ever from Pakistan.