Under-25 cricketers from prominent Test nations who could be the next big superstars in world cricket
Two worlds run parallelly when it comes to organised competitive cricket on the international stage. Obviously, it is a no-brainer to categorise it into mainstream international cricket, under the accreditation of the International Cricket Council (ICC), and the franchise based T20 leagues that have mushroomed at the rate of knots, the presence of which (or the lack of which) would have seen cricket evolve in a completely different way. Cricketers become prodigies overnight and fizzle out from the scenes at an even quicker rate. In such drastically changing times, it becomes extremely hard for an aspiring cricketer to make a name for himself and cement a place in the national side.
Often, cricketers are found lurking between the prospects of a good domestic first class season, which may or may not guarantee them a place in the national squad and may leave them questioning ways to earn a livelihood at times, and the lucrative razzmatazz of T20 cricket, which would provide them employment and the necessities to make ends meet, but still not guarantee a shot at the prize they originally traversed for.
Having said that, it must also be remembered that it is from these leagues and domestic tournaments, that cricketers graduate every year to the next level and represent their countries. What happens after that is a case of luck, hard work, and perseverance and cricketers who get a mixture of the three in the right quantities more often than not go on to do big things for their teams.
In this piece, we enlist young cricketers – under 25 years of age – from the top 9 Test playing nations who have the potential to become the next big thing for their teams over the next decade or so.
Australia – Mitchell Marsh
A cricketing legacy and a family bred on bat and ball can only get you as far as the contention lines for the team. It comes with a burden, though, of doing what your ancestors did and maybe bettering them. If you compare the burden that Mitchell Marsh has been carrying since he made his international debut in 2011, you’d realise just how hard it has been to maintain his ODI batting average of 40 and the bowling average of 31. 1024 runs from just 37 games at a strike rate of 93, with 7 fifties and 1 century speak little of what the 24-year-old all-rounder has in store.
The ability to extract Morne Morkel-esque bounce off the surface, the ability to bring the ball back into a right-hander after pitching and the prowess with the short ball, when mixed with Marsh’s ability to steer the innings out of crisis with the bat and then finish it with a few lusty blows, makes him the typical, gritty, in your face, constantly-talking Australian cricketer who holds the power to shift the game on its head. Test match glory still awaits the younger brother, but having scored all but one of his 50+ scores batting at 5, 6 and 7, Marsh has a terrific opportunity to cement his place as the man to go to, in any situation.