Cricket in 2018: Team-wise find of the year

Most teams found some youngsters who delivered impressive performances which stood out from the ordinary.

Shaheen Shah Afridi
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Shaheen Shah Afridi. (Photo Source: ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Akshay Verma
AKSHAY VERMA

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Shaheen Shah Afridi
Shaheen Shah Afridi. (Photo Source: ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

The year 2018 was another wonderful 12 months for the gentleman’s game. All the three formats of the game played internationally enjoyed a huge amount of success and fan following – the levels of competitiveness both with the bat and the ball soared, there were also moments of unbelievable fielding efforts. Cricket as a whole is doing wonderfully well in terms of talent, recognition, popularity and growth.

With World Cup around the corner, the year 2018 was an important year for all the teams, as they were busy trying new faces so as to build a balanced team to field in the grand tournament to be held in the UK in 2019. To cash on the opportunity to play the prestigious tournament, players were seen giving their best performance to impress the selectors and win their trust.

Amidst all that, they found some youngsters who delivered impressive performances which stood out from the ordinary. These players were little known to the world before but after making the best of the international opportunity given to them, they made name for themselves and turned into overnight sensations. Let’s see the players team-wise who played unusually well for their team and were crowed ‘Find of the Year’ for their respective teams for the year 2018.

1. Prithvi Shaw (India)

Prithvi Shaw
Prithvi Shaw. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Following the rich vein of form in the domestic circuit and Under-19 World Cup, Prithvi Shaw earned a Test call for the series against Windies at home in October. The youngster didn’t disappoint at all as he went on to score a brilliant 134 and thus becoming the youngest Indian to score a century on Test debut at the age of 18 years and 329 days. At such a young age, Shaw is already compared to the cricket great Sachin Tendulkar for his batting style and ability.

His stellar stroke-play, formidable footwork, and immaculate consistency earned him the “Player of the Series” award in his maiden international series. The 19-year-old has played two matches scoring 237 runs at an average of 118.5. Although it is too soon to judge, the Mumbaikar has definitely solved India’s opening slot worries in Tests for the time being with his brilliant performance. Thus he qualifies to earn the title “Find of the Year” for his team.

2. Shimron Hetmyer (Windies)

Shimron Hetmyer
Shimron Hetmyer. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The 21-year-old has made a name for himself at a very young age with his talent and hard-hitting exploits. Shimron Hetmyer by many is considered as the next big thing in Windies cricket, which showed a glimpse of revival in the year 2018. The Guyanese batsman had a dream Carribean Premier League 2018 where he was the third highest run-getter with 440 runs in 12 innings at an average of 40 and a stunning strike rate of 150.

An aggressive middle-order batsman, Hetmyer was a class act in the series against India where he took Indian bowlers apart with his impressive stroke-play and thus earning an IPL contract with Virat Kohli led RCB for whopping 4.20 crores. The southpaw displayed some scintillating performances in the sub-continent recently and is surely the biggest boom for the Windies this year.

3. Sam Curran (England)

Sam Curran
Sam Curran of England bats. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Sam Curran made his international debut this year against Pakistan and since then has impressed the cricket pundits every time he takes the field with his all-round performance. The 20-year-old, without a shadow of a doubt, is one of the top finds of the year around the world for the sheer amount of talent he possesses. Currently, the youngster is arguably the best all-rounder in the 5-day format and has been a revelation for his national side England.

In seven Test matches so far, Sam has scored 404 runs at an average of 36.72, which included three crucial fifties and also picked up 14 wickets. He single-handedly won a series for England against the number one Test side India with his eye-catching strokeplay lower down the order and his swing bowling.

The Northampton born all-rounder was bought by Kings XI Punjab for 7.20 crores thus making him the most expensive overseas player bought in IPL 2019 auction. The English team is really lucky to find a player of Curran’s calibre and is voted as the “Find of the Year” for them this year.

4. Shaheen Afridi (Pakistan)

Shaheen Shah Afridi
Shaheen Shah Afridi. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Known as Mitchell Starc of Pakistan, Shaheen Afridi made his international debut for Pakistan in September 2018 owing to brilliant performances in Pakistan Cricket League. The six-footer has been the latest addition to Pakistan’s skilful pace attack and has shown a great amount of maturity and courage so far. He is a tall left-arm pacer and can swing the ball both ways and that too at a decent pace and thus making him a lethal bowler who can use his height as an added advantage.

The 18-year-old had an impressive white ball debut picking up 13 wickets from six ODIs at an economy of 4.88 and 11 scalps in seven matches at a decent economy of 7.80 in the 20-overs format. If groomed properly, the youngster can be the next big thing for Pakistan in the years to come but as of now his performances have earned him a coveted title of “Find of the Year” for his national side.

 

5. Lungi Ngidi (South Africa)

Lungi Ngidi
Lungi Ngidi. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Lungi Ngidi made his T20 debut for Proteas in 2017 against Sri Lanka where he was adjudged Man of the Match for his brilliant performance in a rain-hit match. The 22-year-old reciprocated similar performance in his Test debut against India at the start of the year where he tore Indian batting line-up apart and was chosen Man of the Match for his stellar performance with the ball.

His stint with the ball earned him an IPL contract in 2018 with the eventual winners CSK where he had an impressive outing picking up 11 wickets in 7 matches at an excellent economy of 6 runs per over. Ngidi has picked up 26 wickets from 13 ODI matches at an astonishing average of 22.03 with two four-wicket hauls to his name while he has taken 15 wickets in 4 Tests at an average of 19.53. He has been a standout performer for Proteas and will be crucial for their World Cup plans and for this reason, is awarded “Find of the Year” title.

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6. Travis Head (Australia)

Travis Head
Travis Head. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Travis Head made his Test debut for the struggling Australian team against Pakistan in UAE this year. In his first Test only, the southpaw showed tough character with 175 balls 72 runs on a deteriorating fourth innings wicket thus, helping his team to pull off a draw out of nowhere. The innings was a motivation for the Aussie camp as it showed a glimpse of Head’s promising career ahead in the White outfit. The South Australian showed he has all the shots in his arsenal and in the years to come he can exploit his potential to be one of the greatest.

The 25-year-old hadn’t had a spectacular year stats wise but in terms of commitment, attitude, temperament, and the character he’s given full marks and is definitely the most promising “Find of the Year” for the kangaroos who had a forgettable year of cricket. The Adelaide born lad has scored 339 runs in 5 Tests played at an average of 34 while in the 50-over format the left-handed batsman 339 runs in 12 matches at an average of 28.25 in 2018.

7. Ajaz Patel (New Zealand)

New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel
New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel (middle). (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI / AFP)

Ajaz Patel made his debut for the Kiwis earlier this year against Pakistan at the age of 30 years. His debut Test match became the highlight of his career as he helped New Zealand pull off a victory against Pakistan in one of the most exciting game of cricket witnessed in 2018. The 30-year-old took a fifer in the fourth innings of the Test match thus guiding his team to 4 runs victory at Abu Dhabi.

The series ended with New Zealand winning 2-1, a feat which no other team has been able to do achieve which is to defeat Pakistan at their backyard considered as its fortress. The Bombay born spinner made a name for himself and since his debut has featured in 5 Tests taking 13 wickets with best of 5 for 59. In the years to come, Patel can be New Zealand’s frontline spinner but for now, he’s “Find of the Year” for the black caps.

8. Kamindu Mendis (Sri Lanka)

Kamindu Mendis
Kamindu Mendis of Sri Lanka U19 team. (Photo by Pal Pillai/Getty Images for Nissan)

Kamindu Mendis made his debut for Sri Lanka against England in the lone T20I played in October 2018. The 20-year-old scored 24 runs in 14 deliveries albeit in the losing cause but did justice to his selection with a quick cameo. However, the youngster is the talk of the town due to his unique ability to bowl with both arms and is known as an ambidextrous spinner. The spinner can be confusing to the batsman who has to adjust to different bowling hand within same over. The Galle born spinner can be handy for Sri Lanka’s World Cup plans next year due to his uniqueness.

The former U-19 captain of Sri Lanka, recently, was named in Sri Lankan team for the 2018 ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup where he guided his team to win the trophy based on his strong individual performances both with the bat and the ball. He scored runs at will and picked up crucial wickets for his team in the tournament. Mendis is definitely a hope which the island nation struggling for form needs for the revival of cricket. If given enough opportunities the youngster can be a match winner for his team in the coming future and is the “Find of the Year” 2018 for Sri Lanka.

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9. Hashmatullah Shahidi (Afghanistan)

Hashmatullah Shahidi
Hashmatullah Shahidi. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Afghanistan, over the years, has been a much-improved side owing to its talented bunch of young cricketers who are giving more than 100 per cent on the field. Another youngster who had a stellar year for the disturbed nation is top-order batsman Hashmatullah Shahidi. The 24-year-old was given the privilege to play in the inaugural Test match for Afghanistan against India where he top scored for Afghans in the second innings with an unbeaten 36.

The Logar born Shahidi made his ODI debut way back in 2013, however, the highlight of his career came in 2018 where he was a stand out performer for Afghanistan with the bat throughout the year. In the eight matches played thus far in this year, the left-handed batsman scored 353 runs at an average of 58.83 with the best score of 97 not out against Pakistan in Asia Cup. He definitely had a dream run in 2018 and is the “Find of the Year” for Afghanistan.

10. Nayeem Hasan (Bangladesh)

Nayeem Hasan
Bangladesh cricketer Nayeem Hasan. (Photo by MUNIR UZ ZAMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Nayeem Hasan was included into the Bangladesh side for the Test series against Windies following a great performance in the U19 Asia Cup held in Bangladesh. The all-rounder was the leading wicket-taker for his team in the tournament.  After being rewarded for his brilliant performance with inclusion into the national Test side the youngster didn’t disappoint at all.

The 20-year-old backed his Test debut with a fifer in the first innings in a winning cause against Windies. The right-hander is embarked as the future prospect for Bangladesh owing to the inspiring performances he has delivered with both bat and ball. He is still very young and with a long way to go forward, the Chittagong native is the “Find of the Year” for his team.

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