5 promising cricketers who made their mark in 2019 

Marnus Labuschagne
Marnus Labuschagne

Like every year, 2019 also presented many youngsters with opportunities to stake their claim for a permanent spot in the national side. While some grabbed these opportunities with both hands, others let it slip.

Australian batsman Marnus Labuschagne’s door to fame opened up in the most unexpected way, as he came in as a concussion specialist for Steve Smith. What happened after that was incredible in every sense. Indian opener Mayank Agarwal got an opportunity after what seemed like an unending wait, and his hunger to make up for lost time was visible almost every time he made it to the middle.

Similarly, Deepak Chahar had a point to prove after he was told by former India coach Greg Chappell that he was not good enough to be a cricketer and that he must look for an alternative career option. Chahar did enough in 2019 to prove Chappell wrong.

As the year winds up, here’s a look at five talented cricketers who made their mark in 2019.

#5. Deepak Chahar

Deepak Chahar
Deepak Chahar

In the deciding T20I against Bangladesh on November 10, pacer Deepak Chahar created history by becoming the first Indian to claim a hat-trick in T20Is. Chahar dismissed Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, and Aminul Islam to finish off Bangladesh’s challenge in their chase of 175. Earlier, Chahar had also sent back Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, and Mohammad Mithun. In 3.2 overs, Chahar ended with sensational figures of 6 for 7 -- the best bowling figures in T20Is, bettering Ajantha Mendis’ 6 for 8.

Earlier in August, Chahar finished with brilliant figures of 3 for 4 against West Indies in Providence as India clinched the three-match series 3-0. He dismissed Evin Lewis, Sunil Narine, and Shimron Hetmyer as West Indies crumbled to 3 for 14. With fifties from Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant, India went on to win the contest by seven wickets.

A vital cog in the Indian bowling line-up, Chahar has come a long way since receiving that nasty remark from Chappell.

#4. Nicholas Pooran

<a href='' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'>Nicholas Pooran</a>

Nicholas Pooran

The West Indian talent made news for the wrong reason after he was suspended for ball-tampering during the ODI series against Afghanistan in November. However, Pooran overcame the setback and put up some fine performances in India, a tour during which he was one of the standout performers for the visiting side.

Pooran smashed 75 from 47 balls in the second ODI at Visakhapatnam to go with the 89 from 64 in the decider at Cuttack. Pooran’s big-hitting was as clean as one has witnessed in recent years. In the World Cup match against Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street, Pooran made an impressive 118 from 103 even as the Windies went down in their chase of 339. Pooran is clearly one for the future as far as West Indies cricket is concerned.

#3. Jofra Archer

Jofra Archer

Jofra Archer

The Barbados-born fast bowler made his much-awaited debut this year. And, Jofra Archer proved that all the hype around him was not for nothing. He picked up five wickets in his debut Test at Lord’s against Australia, and even hit Steve Smith on the helmet, forcing him to miss the next Test. Archer claimed his best figures of 6 for 45 in Australia’s first innings at Headingley, which England went on to win courtesy of Ben Stokes’ miraculous second-innings hundred. Archer was the man of the match in the final Test at The Oval, his 6 for 62 blowing the Aussies away and ensuring that England drew level even as Australia retained the urn.

Archer played his role in England’s World Cup triumph as well, with an impressive tally of 20 wickets in 11 games at an average of 24.55, and a strike rate of 30.85. Keeping his calm under extreme pressure, Archer bowled the Super Over that won England the World Cup.

#2. Mayank Agarwal

Mayank Agarwal
Mayank Agarwal

Indian opener Mayank Agarwal had to wait a very long time to make his much-deserved debut. But once he did, he ensured not to waste the precious opportunity. After a memorable initiation into Test cricket with 76 and 42 in the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne last year, Agarwal built on the impressive start in 2019, getting better and better with each game.

Beginning the year with 77 at Sydney, Agarwal went on to register his maiden hundred -- a double century -- 215 against South Africa at Visakhapatnam. In the same series, he scored his second hundred, 108, at Pune. Agarwal wasn’t done yet. In the Indore Test against Bangladesh, he registered his career-best of 243, thus becoming the second-fastest ever to hit two double hundreds, quicker than even Sir Don Bradman. An exciting prospect for sure!

#1. Marnus Labuschagne

Marnus Labuschagne
Marnus Labuschagne

Australian batsman Marnus Labuschagne’s rise in international cricket has been the story of the year. Coming in as concussion substitute for the injured Steve Smith at Lord’s, he made a hard-fought 59. Retained for the next Test, he responded with 74 and 80 at Leeds and another half-century at Manchester.

The incredible turnaround has seen Labuschagne reaching the top spot among the highest Test run-scorers of 2019. In 10 Tests, he has amassed 1,022 runs at an average of 68.13. In his last three Tests itself, Labuschagne has posted scores of 185, 162, 143 and 50. He couldn't have asked for a better start to his career. Talk about making the most of your chances!

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Edited by Anurag Sharma
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