Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali has been creating waves recently in the 50-over game for all the right reasons.
The right-arm pacer’s 5-34 in the third ODI against Sri Lanka enabled his side to gain an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
A key part of the Pakistan side which won the ICC Champions Trophy in England earlier this year, the 23-year-old bowler has had a fantastic 2017 to herald his meteoric rise in limited-overs cricket.
We take a close at the three key statistics which prove that Ali might just be the next big thing to come out in ODI cricket.
It has been only 14 months since the pacer made his debut for his country against Ireland in August 2016. The youngster however has continued to defy expectations though, becoming the new No.1 ranked bowler in the latest ICC rankings.
So remarkable has been Ali’s recent run with the ball that he has leapfrogged the likes of Imran Tahir, Josh Hazlewood, Kagiso Rabada and Mitchell Starc to claim the top spot in the rankings having played only 24 ODIs to date.
Ali is also the highest wicket-taker in the calendar year with 55 wickets, ahead of Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid of England who both have 36 wickets each.
— ICC Media (@ICCMediaComms) October 20, 2017
In Pakistan’s win over Sri Lanka in the third ODI, Ali created history when he had Akila Dananjaya caught-behind by skipper Sarfraz Ahmed. That wicket meant the pacer had become the quickest Pakistan bowler to complete a half-century of dismissals, taking only 24 matches.
He surpassed Pakistan greats such as Waqar Younis and Saqlain Mushtaq who took 27 and 28 outings respectively to reach the figure.
The wicket also made the youngster the third quickest overall to the mark, jointly with Australia pace icon Dennis Lillee. Sri Lanka’s Ajantha Mendis remains the quickest taking only 19 games while Ajit Agarkar and Mitchell McClenaghan occupy the joint second spot, taking 23.
So consistent has been Ali’s form in the last few months that he has remarkably picked up three wickets minimum on seven occasions in Pakistan’s last eight matches.
This run started in the ICC Champions Trophy where he was the highest wicket-taker claiming 13 wickets in the five games to lead Pakistan’s charge to the title.
He has continued that excellent showing in the ongoing ODI series with Sri Lanka with his 1-32 in the first match being his worst return in the past eight games.
Not only that, Ali also has three five-wicket hauls in 2017 so far with one each against Sri Lanka, Australia and the West Indies. This makes him only the fourth Pakistan bowler to do so in a calendar year with Shahid Afridi being the last to achieve the feat in 2011.
South Africa’s AB De Villiers and Pakistan’s Hasan Ali have climbed to the top of the ICC ODI rankings chart in the batsmen and bowlers category respectively.
De Villiers recently returned from a four-month injury layoff to hit a career best 177 off just 104 balls to guide South Africa to victory in the second ODI against Bangladesh.
The Proteas batsman leapfrogged India’s Virat Kohli who dropped to second while Australia’s David Warner moved down to the number three spot.
Pakistan’s Babar Azam has meanwhile risen to the fourth spot in the table on the back of his successive tons against Sri Lanka in the UAE.
Hasan Ali’s march to become the fastest Pakistan bowler to collect 50 wickets in the one-day game has been rewarded with a rise to the top spot in the bowler’s rankings.
The 23-year-old has had a remarkable 2017 which has seen him claim three five-wicket hauls to become the leading wicket-taker in the calendar year with 55 to his name.
In the all-rounder’s rankings it is another Pakistan player who rules the roost with Mohammad Hafeez taking the number one slot in the latest rankings.
The 37-year-old all-rounder has been recently reported for a suspect bowling for third time in his career during the third ODI against Sri Lanka. Hafeez picked up one wicket in the match but was reported by the match officials and will have to submit to testing within 14 days.
In the team rankings front, South Africa’s win over Bangladesh has propelled them to the top of the table displacing India who had clinched the spot after their 4-1 win over the Aussies.
Virat Kohli’s men can still reclaim the top slot from the Proteas if they can clean-sweep the upcoming three-match series against New Zealand.
Joe Root may have to “con” England into believing they win the Ashes without talisman Ben Stokes, according to Michael Vaughan.
Former England captain Vaughan insists Australia will be overwhelming favourites to win the Ashes should the tourists be shorn of all-rounder Stokes for the opening Test.
Stokes could miss the first clash that starts on November 23 owing to the fall-out from his Bristol arrest in September for actual bodily harm that left him with a broken finger.
And ex-England skipper Vaughan believes current captain Root must find a way to galvanise his side against the Aussies if Stokes misses out.
“His greatest challenge is going to be to convince the team they can win,” said Vaughan, of England captain Root.
“It may be that he has to lie a bit and con them.
“He might have to blow up a few tyres that might be flat and convince them they are good enough to beat this Australian team.
“I don’t think it is right to go there and talk down the Aussies. I’ve been around captains that do that and it doesn’t work.
“It is worth saying they are good. They are not what they were 20 years ago but they are dangerous and you know what they will produce over five matches.
“You know they will have a bit of magic in them and can Joe convince his players to play a style of cricket over a period to win.
“The problem with this Test team over the last two years is they have had moments where we have all thought they were brilliant and then the week after, like at Headingley (in defeat to West Indies), you have thought ‘what the hell was that?’
“He has to make sure they are consistently playing at a level to take the game into days four and five. I don’t see them blowing Australia away in three days.”
Vaughan hailed Stokes as England’s second-best batsman, behind skipper Root, and admitted fearing the tourists would lose confidence in his absence.
“I am sure Australia respect a lot of our players but the one they fear the most is not going to be there,” said Vaughan, speaking as a BT Sport pundit.
“I’ve not seen too many celebrations from the Australians but I am sure in private they have cracked open a few bottles of Penfold.