A sensational Ranji Trophy debut century from a very talented youngster, one of the best knocks by a visiting batsman down under, one of the best knocks by an opener at the Sydney Cricket Ground, a mature burst of fast bowling from a still-young future star and a breath-taking T20I innings that almost made it to the record books have been lined up this week.
Most of the performances came from young blood and that makes it even more heartening for cricket lovers around the world. Each of the performances is by a player from a different country which is the other delightful news.
#1 Prithvi Shaw
Prithvi Shaw, debuted in the semi-final of Ranji against Tamil Nadu, thanks to Mumbai’s problems this year with the opener. He got that job thanks to Rahul Dravid’s endorsement and he made his mentor proud along with the selectors. Prithvi, the 17-year old debutant scored a century in Mumbai’s second innings in a winning chase. They already had the first innings lead, which probably led Tamil Nadu to declare and try and win the game.
The target was 251 and Prithvi, who didn’t contribute much in the first innings, scored a 175-ball 120 becoming the first Mumbai debutant to score a century in Ranji Trophy since Amol Muzumdar, who did it in the 93-94 season.
#2 Kagiso Rabada
In the second Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka at Newlands, Cape Town, Kagiso Rabada showed yet again, why he probably is South Africa’s fast-bowling future. Rabada returned figures of 4-37 in the first innings including the two big wickets of Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal. He went one step better in the second innings, returning figures of 6-55 cleaning up the top and middle order of Sri Lanka.
This was the 21-year old’s fifth five-wicket haul and his second ten-wicket haul in a match. Rabada, who was also adjudged Player of the Match, averages a super-impressive 22 with the ball in Tests with a spectacular strike-rate of 37.1.
#3 Corey Anderson
In the third T20I against Bangladesh at Bay Oval, New Zealand, batting first, were in a spot of bother at 41 for three. But then came the big innings. Corey Anderson, who had two forgettable outings, turned in the screws in the third, scoring 94 off 41 balls with 10 sixes, a record for New Zealand.
The 124-run partnership with his skipper Kane Williamson, who scored 60, helped New Zealand post 194 and eventually win the game by 27 runs to make it a whitewash for New Zealand. Anderson, who once held the record for fastest ODI century, is yet to get one in the shortest format.
#4 Matt Renshaw
Australia’s big purge to blood in youngsters is working for them big time. Peter Handscomb has already made it to the record books and the Final Test against Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground saw Matt Renshaw, the 20-year old opener, repaying the selectors’ faith. Renshaw watched the Warner blitz where the latter scored 113 in a partnership of 151 runs.
He then went on to build his own innings scoring a massive 184 off 293 balls to ensure Australia had a massive first innings score to intimidate Pakistan. Renshaw took a couple of blows to his helmet while batting and then while fielding at forward short leg. He didn’t bat in the second innings because of concussion but has done enough to secure his place for the next series.
#5 Younis Khan
At the SCG, Younis Khan became the first Test batsman to score centuries in 11 different countries. He was also his country’s lone fighter, scoring an unbeaten 175* in a total of 315 in reply to Australia’s massive first innings total of 538. Khan, who looks in fine form and physical shape at 39, is 23 short of 10000 runs with an average of 53 and 34 Test centuries, equalling Sunil Gavaskar’s tally of Test tons.
Khan is also one of the rare batsmen to average over 50 both at home and in away games. Khan had a mediocre tour until this spectacular hundred, his first in Australia, having crossed 50 just twice in 4 Tests in New Zealand and Australia. He boasts of one of the best conversion rates in the game with more Test tons than half-centuries.