The list of young promising cricketers who hold the key to their team’s fortunes at this year’s Champions Trophy
AB de Villiers (South Africa): His age belies his almost innate maturity and his beatific smile conceals his fierce drive. Elegance has a new name in world cricket — AB de Villiers. At the tender age of 21, this Pretorian colt was thrown among the thoroughbreds of international cricket and the way he has justified the faith reposed in him has been exemplary. His flawless technique, grace and footwork are already making raves and he’s likely to enjoy a successful Indian sojourn.
Shane Watson (Australia): An Australian to the core — sturdy, amazingly confident, if not a little high-headed, vivacious and highly pugnacious — Shane Watson is being touted as the one to take the glorious Australian legacy forward. Bestowed with the prestigious Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year award in 2002, when he was just 21, Watson’s all-round skills provide Australia with the much-needed flexibility and options to maintain their intransigence in world cricket.
Suresh Raina (India): A quintessential young man in a hurry. If Raina’s prodigious talent is incontrovertible, then so is his endeavour to be aggressive at all times. Raina’s alacrity in the field and his creativity in the middle-order is fundamental to India’s progress in the Champions Trophy.
Upul Tharanga (Sri Lanka): Another one of the precocious Young Turks who can set India ablaze with his coruscating presence during the Champions trophy. Unassuming and highly reticent off the field, this 21-year-old southpaw prefers his bat do the talking on it. His team-mates hail him as the ‘next Jayasuriya’. We wait to confirm with bated breath.
Dwayne Bravo (West Indies): Small of frame, large of stature, this ‘new big dog’ cannot only bark but bite. His gnaw of India’s skin in Barbados, where he single-handedly enabled Windies to snatch a win out of jaw of victory, still haunts India’s psyche. Blessed with a befuddling slower delivery, supple wrists and strong arms, this sinewy all-rounder can be West Indies cricket’s saviour. Brian Lara told HT as much in April 2006 when the said that Bravo had it in him to compose the redemption song of West Indies cricket.
Shane Bond (New Zealand): Few new comers have taken world cricket with as much storm as he did in the series against world champions, Australia. Storming the ramparts of greatness, Bond’s blend of raw speed, prodigious movement and unabated aggression was the reason behind the Kiwis clipping the high-flying Aussie wings in the 2001-02 series and the 2003 World Cup. However, his fragile back has dogged his career and he’s played sporadically since. However, this tenacious player is banking on the upcoming Champions Trophy to reclaim his place in the fast bowling pantheon.
Brett Lee (Australia): ‘A magician’ is what the Australians call him, as everything he has touched off late has turned to gold. Hic comeback to the Australian team from the wilderness is as much a triumph of perspiration, as it is of inspiration. This elegant southpaw has been scoring at the rate of knots and has shown remarkable fortitude in pressure times. Chock full of grit, watch him seek and destroy in India.