We earmark a few players who, we believe, will be among the ones to watch out for this year. Have a look.
Mohammed Shami: India have been hunting for a fast bowler with real pace for a while now. Many have promised in the past but have faded away. The pacer from Bengal has also made an impressive start to his career. He picked up nine wickets in a memorable Test debut against West Indies at his home ground, the Eden Gardens. The West Indies were blown away by his pace and accuracy. In four Tests, Shami has 17 wickets to his credit averaging 26. Further, in 20 ODIs, Shami has grabbed 30 wickets at an average of 30.
Quinton de Kock: South Africa’s wicket-keeper opener in ODIs, de Kock made his debut early last year, and in 16 matches so far he has already notched up four centuries at an average of 46. The youngster got his maiden ton, 112 against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi, and followed it up with three consecutive centuries at home against India. While two of the tons came with South Africa in command, the third one came with the Proteas in trouble, and de Kock showed the maturity to bail them out.
Ben Stokes: One of the few positives for England to come out of a disastrous Ashes campaign. The talented all-rounder made a wonderful 120 in the third Ashes Test at Perth, standing out even as the rest of the batsmen failed. Further, he grabbed eight wickets in the New Year Test at Sydney to give England some hope of avoiding a whitewash. Stokes has made his presence felt in ODIs as well. He had figures of 5 for 61 in an ODI at Southampton against Australia last year.
James Faulkner: After a successful IPL stint, Faulkner was inducted into the Australian squad, and he has made a serious impression. In 19 ODIs, he has picked up 25 wickets averaging 32. Faulkner has also made an impact with the bat. He has two 50s and century to his credit, including that unbeaten 64 against India at Mohali during which he smashed Ishant Sharma all around the park and pulled off a miraculous victory for his side. He also picked up six wickets in the only Test that he played.
Aaron Finch: The big-hitting batsman from Australia made his T20 debut a couple years back, but it was in 2013 that he hit headlines with a scintillating 156 off 63 balls against England at Southampton. He also blasted 89 off 52 balls against India at Rajkot. Further, he got a couple of quick half-centuries in the ODI series against India.
Corey Anderson: The upcoming New Zealand batsman began the New Year with a bang, rewriting the record books with the fastest century in ODIs. Anderson smashed the Kiwi bowlers all over the park en route to his unbeaten 131 off 47 balls. Anderson has made a bright start to his career, averaging 37 in Tests, 55 in ODIs. He is also a pretty useful medium pace bowler.
--By A Cricket Analyst