World Cup 2019: Rashid Khan, Shaheen Afridi among the top five youngsters to watch out for

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Rashid Khan carries the hopes of entire Afghanistan in his maiden WC campaign.

Just days remain before the 2019 ICC World Cup to gets under way in England with 10 teams set to battle it out for the coveted trophy.

The World Cup has seen some of the biggest legends of the game like Sir Viv Richards, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting set the stage alight over the course of its history.

Along with the superstars, the World Cup has also seen some of the future greats of the sport make their mark. Here, we look at the top five youngsters aged 23 or below who will be worth keeping an eye on during the competition.

SHIMRON HETMYER

Team: West Indies

Age: 22

While the likes of Chris Gayle and Andre Russell will be drawing maximum attention from the West Indies squad, young Shimron Hetmyer could very well be the surprise package.

The southpaw first broke into the limelight when he captained the West Indies to their maiden U19 World Cup title three years ago and his reputation has only grown ever since.

The 22-year-old has already established himself as one of the most explosive batsmen on the circuit with an ODI strike-rate of over 110. He has already registered four quick-fire tons in just 24 ODI innings and looks destined to add a few more to his tally in the upcoming World Cup.

Hetmyer has already forged a fearsome reputation.

Hetmyer has already forged a fearsome reputation.

MEHIDY HASAN MIRAZ

Team: Bangladesh

Age: 21

Mehidy Hasan has long been hailed as one of the future greats for Bangladesh ever since he led the country’s U19 team to their maiden U19 World Cup semi-final appearance in 2016.

A memorable Test debut against England in the same year followed with the off-spinning all-rounder picking up 12 wickets in the match. At just 21, Mehidy Hasan has already played Tests, 26 ODIs and 13 T20Is for Bangladesh and enters his maiden senior World Cup campaign as a seasoned professional.

The youngster is a handy batsman to have down the order while he has great control with his off-spin as evidenced by his ODI economy rate of just 4.37.

Mehidy is one of brightest young talents to emerge from Bangladesh.

Mehidy is one of brightest young talents to emerge from Bangladesh.

SHAHEEN AFRIDI

Team: Pakistan

Age: 19

While Pakistan have included 18-year-old Mohammad Hasnain in their World Cup squad, it is young Shaheen Afridi who looks set to have the bigger impact.

The teenager has enjoyed a meteoric rise ever since his breakthrough displays for Pakistan in the U19 World Cup in New Zealand last year. Within a year of that prolific campaign, Afridi has already made his senior Pakistan debut across all three formats and has more than made his mark in every one of them.

The left-armed seamer already possessed the ability to swing the ball prodigiously but there has also been a notable increase in his pace over the last few months.

He has already bagged 20 wickets in 12 ODIs so far and was man-of-the-series when Pakistan took on New Zealand last year.

Afridi has has a breakthrough year in international cricket.

Afridi has had a breakthrough year in international cricket.

RASHID KHAN

Team: Afghanistan

Age: 20

The massive hype around Rashid Khan is more than justified considering the Afghanistan man comes into his maiden World Cup campaign as the No1 ranked T20I bowler and ODI all-rounder in the ICC rankings.

The leg-spin sensation has been around the international circuit for a long time now with 57 ODI and 38 T20I appearances already under his belt. In just 54 ODI innings, Rashid has picked up a staggering 123 wickets at an average of just 15 while his economy-rate of just 3.91 is sensational in itself.

Armed with an array of subtle variations, all bowled with a fast-armed action, the youngster has already bamboozled some of the best batsmen in the business in the IPL and other T20 franchise leagues across the globe.

Rashid is the talisman for a hungry Afghanistan team who will be itching to make a big splash in the World Cup.

Rashid can tie any batsman in knots.

Rashid can tie any batsman in knots.

KAGISO RABADA

Team: South Africa

Age: 23

It is almost cheating to include Kagiso Rabada’s name with the other youngsters in the mix but such has been his sensational rise in international cricket that it is hard to believe he is still just 23.

The right-armed fast bowler has long established himself as South Africa’s pace spearhead and remarkably became the youngest bowler in history to take the No1 ICC Test ranking last year.

A veteran of 37 Tests, 66 ODIs and 19 T20Is, Rabada has already racked up 307 international dismissals including a hat-trick on his one-day debut against Bangladesh in 2015.

The sky is the limit for the youngster who looks destined to become an all-time Proteas great already, and he will be desperate to leave an impact on his maiden senior World Cup campaign.

That the young pacer is coming off a prolific IPL campaign for Delhi Capitals also does not bode well for opposition batsmen.

Rabada is already one of the very best bowlers in the world.

Rabada is already one of the very best bowlers in the world.

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