We are in the business end of the countdown and the competition is heating up. We take a look at ten players who almost make it to the top five, players who played brilliantly in parts or had numbers that were just short of extraordinary, just short of the kind of numbers that would have catapulted them into the elite list.
That doesn’t mean they didn’t have a great year; they absolutely did. These are the players the superstars need, supporting roles that help the superstars play the big knocks, and bowl the devastating spells.
Swashbuckling southpaw and McGrath’s successor
#15 Quinton de Kock
South Africa’s in-form wicket-keeper had a brilliant year, truth be told. In just 8 Tests, Quinton piled on 695 runs at 63.18 with 2 centuries and 5 half-centuries. He had an even better year in the ODI setup, with 857 runs in just 17 knocks at 57.13 with a stupendous strike-rate of 108.61. He smashed 3 centuries and 3 half-centuries.
He also managed 229 runs at 32.71 with a strike-rate of 146.79 in just 7 T20Is, rounding off a brilliant year for him. If only South Africa had more matches to play. Despite that Quinton de Kock notched up the ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year Award!
#14 Josh Hazlewood
One of Australia’s most consistent bowlers, Hazlewood has had a good year, with 40 Test wickets in just 11 Tests at 28.27, asserting his place as McGrath’s successor, always economical with the ball and consistent enough to bottle one end up.
The numbers just get better in ODIs where Hazlewood has 26 wickets in 15 innings at 25.23 with an impressive economy rate of 4.77.