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Picking the best cricketers in the world at every age

04 Aug 2020 CricTracker

Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: Twitter) The game of cricket has evolved since the first international match was played between Canada and the USA back in 1844. A number of cricketers have plied their trade and enthralled the crowds. To start with Test cricket used to be the norm where the likes of Don Bradman, Hanif Mohammad and many others weaved magic. Then came in the ODI format and the first ever World Cup back in 1975. In the early 2000s, the T20 format came to the fore and it added to the entertainment quotient. At the present point in time, even 10-overs and five-overs matches are being played. The Hundred is also on the cards in 2021. In the meantime, a number of players from different ages have taken the cricket world by storm. Be it at the dawn of their careers, or on the verge of retirement, they hardly have flattered to deceive. Here’s the list of age-wise best cricketers: – Naseem Shah, Pakistan 17 years old Naseem Shah. (Photo Source: Twitter) Naseem Shah made his debut for Pakistan in the 2019 series against Australia at The Gabba in Brisbane. The pacer was picked after the national team brought about quite a few changes following a disastrous home campaign against Sri Lanka. Shah couldn’t do much on the tour, but flourished in the Test series against the Lankans and Bangladesh earlier this year, ruffling a few feathers. Against the Tigers, he also went on to become the youngest to pick up a Test hat-trick, accomplishing the feat in Rawalpindi. On the back of the stupendous performances, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) included him in Category C of the centrally contracted players. The speedster has also played under the leadership of former national skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed while playing in the PSL. Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Afghanistan 18 years old Rahmanullah Gurbaz. (Photo Source: Twitter) Rahmanullah Gurbaz has given a good account of himself ever since he donned the Afghanistan colours for the first time. He made his debut during the T20I tri-nation series in Bangladesh last year. In 10 matches, he has 332 runs thus far at a decent average of 33.20. However, most importantly, the Young Turk plays at a strike-rate of 140.67, showing that he hardly likes to get bogged down. The wicketkeeper averages 49.52 and 38.53 in first-class and List A cricket, showing that he can foray into Test and ODI cricket as well, going into the future. In the three-match series against Ireland in March at Greater Noida, he got scores of 28, 35 and 42. Last year, he was also a part of the Khulna Tigers in the 2019-20 edition of the BPL where he got a 19-ball 50 against Chattogram Challengers. Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Afghanistan 19 years old Mujeeb Ur Rahman(Photo Source: ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images) Mujeeb U Rahman is one of the very reasons why Afghanistan have tasted significant success at the highest level. Along with spin partner Rashid Khan, the youngster has managed to bamboozle the best with his clever variations. He made his debut as a 16-year-old and has grown leaps and bounds. In his overall career, the tweaker from Khost has already picked up 187 wickets from 159 games. In international cricket, he has 89 wickets from 60 matches with one five-wicket haul and three four-wicket hauls. That he also bowls inside the field restrictions makes his figures look even more glorious. Due to his potential, in 2018, he was picked by the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the IPL. The off-spinner has also taken part in the Big Bash League (BBL) and Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). Shaheen Shah Afridi, Pakistan 20 years old Shaheen Shah Afridi. (Photo Source: Twitter) It’s only been a couple of years since Shaheen Shah Afridi forayed into international cricket. But in the short period, he has already become a leader of the pack in the Pakistan pace bowling unit. The southpaw came to the fore in the 2018 U19 World Cup in New Zealand and from there on, he hasn’t looked back. Even in the 2019 World Cup, the left-arm speedster was one of the Men in Green’s strike bowlers. In the last league game, he returned with a six-wicket haul against Bangladesh at the Lord’s Cricket Ground. For Pakistan, Afridi already has 86 wickets from 39 matches and is expected to scale greater heights as his career progresses. His dominance can be comprehended from the fact that he has a couple of five-wicket hauls and seven four-fers. He also impressed for the Lahore Qalandars in the last PSL. Rashid Khan, Afghanistan 21 years old Rashid Khan. (Photo Source: Twitter) Rashid Khan has taken giant strides after making his debut at the tender age of 16. He already has nearly 500 wickets combining first-class, List and the T20 format and he has looked unstoppable. The Afghans have won plenty of games on the back of his masterful bowling spells. For the national team, the spinner from Nangarhar has 23, 133 and 89 wickets respectively in 123 matches. He has mostly been his captain’s go-to-bowler in crunch moments. Rashid is also amongst the first Afghan cricketer along with Mohammad Nabi to play in the IPL. In the T20 league, he is a part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). Having picked 296 wickets from 211 games, Rashid is seventh in the list of all-time wicket-takers in the T20s. It seems to be a matter of time before he goes to the top. Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Bangladesh 22 years old Mehidy Hasan. (Photo Source: Twitter) It was a touch choice zeroing in on the best between Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Rishabh Pant. Both of them have flourished in Test cricket, but is yet to weave magic in T20I and ODI cricket. However, it’s Mehidy’s consistency that helped him edge the Indian left-hander. In 22 Tests, Miraz has 90 wickets with one four-wicket haul, as many as seven five-wicket hauls and a 10-wicket haul as well. He also has 638 Test runs at 17.72 with a couple of fifties. Pant, on the other hand, has a couple of centuries, but barring them, he averages a mere 27.05. The southpaw has also been in and out of the team and has a long way to travel. Mehidy also has 40 ODI wickets and averages 17.86 in the format. Even in the previous edition of the BPL, the Khulna-born played some decent knocks. Shimron Hetmyer, West Indies 23 years old Shimron Hetmyer. (Photo Source: Twitter) Shimron Hetmyer made his debut for the West Indies back in April 2017 and has played quite a few important knocks for them. In Test and T20I cricket, the Guyana-born has shown sparks of brilliance, but hasn’t been consistent enough. However, in ODI cricket, he hasn’t flattered to deceive by any means. In 45 matches in the format, the left-handed batsman has 1430 runs at an average of 36.66. He also has five centuries and four half-centuries, showing that he can be a brute force to reckon with. He has a top score of 139 in ODIs against India last year at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. In 2019, he also made his IPL debut for Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Thereafter, Hetmyer was picked to play for the Delhi Capitals (DC) in the 2020 edition of the T20 league. Imam-ul-Haq, Pakistan 24 years old Imam-ul-Haq. (Photo credit should read CHRISTIAAN KOTZE/AFP/Getty Images) Imam-ul-Haq has been a consistent performer for Pakistan in ODI cricket since he made his debut against Sri Lanka at Abu Dhabi in 2017. In 37 ODIs, the 24-year-old already has notched 1,723 runs at a stupendous average of 53.84. Though he has a strike-rate of 80.47, he has been mightily effective in the 50-overs format. The Lahore, Punjab-born also has seven centuries and six half-centuries. Even in the 2019 World Cup, he was one of Pakistan’s most consistent performers, getting scores of 44, 53, 44, 36, 100 and 31. The century he got came against Bangladesh at the Lord’s Cricket Ground. Even in Test cricket, Imam has three fifties, but an average of 25.52 hasn’t helped his cause. However, bearing in mind his talent with the bat, Imam can’t be ruled out by any means. Kagiso Rabada, South Africa  25 years old Kagiso Rabada. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images) Choosing between South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada and Pakistan’s Babar Azam was a tough task. Babar has been a key performer for his national team across formats and there’s very little doubt over his potential. But the impact Rabada has had in the last few years can’t be ignored either. The Johannesburg-born made his debut in 2014 against Australia and has only grown in stature. Though he didn’t have the best of outings in the 2019 World Cup, the speedster remains to be a brute force. He is someone, who runs in day in and day out, without getting tired. In 43 Tests, 75 ODIs and 24 T20Is, the 25-year-old has 344 wickets with 15 four-wicket hauls, 10 five-wicket hauls and as many as four 10-wicket hauls. Rabada also brings depth in batting in the South African lineup. Jasprit Bumrah, India 26 years old Jasprit Bumrah. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images) Jasprit Bumrah has come up the ranks at a brisk rate after making his debut in the Australia tour in 2016. He didn’t take much time in spewing venom in the ODI and T20I format. After plying his trade in the shorter formats for around a couple of years, he made his Test debut in 2018 in the tour of South Africa. Even in the longer version, the fast bowler has shown much effective he can be. In 14 Tests, 64 ODIs and 50 T20Is, Bumrah has a combined tally of 231 wickets. Last year, he also became the third Indian bowler after Harbhajan Singh and Irfan Pathan to get a hat-trick. He accomplished the feat in the second Test against the West Indies at the Kingston in Jamaica. Bumrah has also successfully plied his trade for the Mumbai Indians (MI) in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Pat Cummins, Australia 27 years old Pat Cummins of Australia. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images/Getty Images) Pat Cummins is one of the most hard-working cricketers in the Australian team. He is someone, who can run in day in and day out with equal ferocity. The captain can count on him to make regular breakthroughs in crunch situations of a game. Though his career was a tad plagued by injuries in the first-half, he has managed to show why he is regarded as one of the best fast bowlers going around. He also notched a five-wicket haul against South Africa at the Wanderers at the age of 18 years and 193 days. In 30 Tests, 64 ODIs and 28 T20Is, the Aussie speedster has 143, 105 and 36 wickets respectively. Cummins can get wickets with the new ball as well as in the death overs when the batsmen are trying to play the massive shots. Not to forget his potential with the bat in hand. Jason Holder, West Indies 28 years old Jason Holder. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images) Jason Holder might not be the ODI and T20I captain for the West Indies anymore, but it doesn’t undermine his role in the national team. More often than not, the Barbados-born has managed to rule the roost as far as the all-rounder’s rankings are concerned. Holder isn’t the most attractive player going around, but in terms of effectiveness, very few have been able to match his class and calibre. With the ball in hand, Holder has 263 wickets thus far and is at the top of his game. Though he hasn’t tasted much success in the T20I format, he has been performing consistently in Test cricket and ODI cricket. With the bat in hand, he hasn’t flattered to deceive by any means. In Tests, he averages in the 30s, scoring three centuries and eight fifties. Even in the ODI format, Holder has nine half-centuries. Ben Stokes, England 29 years old Ben Stokes. (Photo Source: Getty Images) Ben Stokes, slowly and steadily, is carving his name amongst the greatest all-rounders to have graced the game. After making his debut in 2011, the New Zealand-born has travelled a long distance. Though he hasn’t played a whole lot of games in T20Is, he remains to be a feared prospect. The 29-year-old, especially in the last two years, has played some gem of knocks for the Three Lions. He was one of the major reasons behind England’s triumph in the 2019 World Cup. He got a number of scores in the 80s and even in the final against the Black Caps, he showed nerves of steel. Then scored a century in the Headingley Test against Australia, taking his team to victory. Stokes already has over 7,000 runs for the Brits to go with over 240 wickets in his international career. Kane Williamson, New Zealand 30 years old Kane Williamson. (Photo Source: Twitter) Kane Williamson doesn’t make a lot of noise and isn’t the most glamorous players in world cricket. However, he is, without a shred of a doubt, one of the best in the business in the modern era. The New Zealand captain made his international debut back in 2010 and has been a fulcrum of the Kiwis’ setup across formats. The right-hander values his wicket and makes the opponents sweat with grit and resilience. The Tauranga-born already has played a couple of World Cup finals, the last one coming in 2019 when he was the captain. Last time around, he got a couple of centuries, but his team fell short by the ‘barest of margins’. Williamson has been a success story in all the formats. In 80 Tests, he has 6,476 runs with 21 centuries. Even in ODIs and T20Is, Kane has over 7,800 with 13 centuries and 50 half-centuries. *Williamson will be turning 30 years old on August 8, 2020. Virat Kohli, India 31 years old    Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: Twitter) Virat Kohli is the only batsman in the world with an average in excess of 50 in all the three formats of the sport. Ever since he made his debut in 2008, he has been outstanding to say the least. His game and fitness levels have grown leaps and bounds. Having scored as many as 70 tons at the highest level to go with over 21,000 runs, the 31-year-old batsman hasn’t flattered to deceive by any means. He is currently the ICC’s number one ranked ODI batter, scoring runs at an average of 59.33. Over the last two years, he has also fought with Steve Smith for the number one Test batsman’s rankings. He is arguably India’s most successful captain across formats after taking charge from December 2014. He is at the peak of his career and is expected to only pile on the records in the future. Nathan Lyon, Australia 32 years old Nathan Lyon. (Photo by JEREMY NG/AFP via Getty Images) Nathan Lyon hasn’t played a whole lot of matches in the T20 format, however in Test cricket, he has been fulcrum of the Australian bowling attack. After Shane Warne, Lyon has been the Aussies’ most successful bowler in the purest format of the sport. He made his debut in the format back in 2011 versus Sri Lanka. Ever since, he has picked up 390 runs from 96 Tests with 18 fifers and three 10-fers. Lyon also adds value to the Australian bowling attack in conditions that aren’t quite conducive to spin bowling. At the first-class level, the veteran tweaker has notched 572 wickets. Lyon is no mug with the bat in hand either. The New South Wales-born has 1,031 runs at an average of 12.27 with a top score of 47. The offie still has a lot to offer to Australian cricket moving ahead in his career. Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh  33 years old Shakib Al Hasan. (Photo Source: Twitter) Shakib Al Hasan can be deemed as Bangladesh’s greatest cricketer ever. The southpaw has been an indispensable member of the Tigers’ setup across formats. Even former skipper Mashrafe Mortaza had accepted that Shakib’s absence from the eleven impacts the team. At times, he has delivered single-handedly in both batting and bowling though he hasn’t gotten get enough support from his mates. In 56 Tests, 206 ODIs and 76 T20Is, the Magura-born has racked up 3,862, 6,323 and 1,567 runs respectively. In the 2019 World Cup, he scored a couple of centuries and a few half-centuries, albeit Bangladesh couldn’t qualify for the semis. Having picked 562 wickets at the highest level, there’s no doubts about his credentials. The 33-year-old has also gone on to play in various domestic leagues. Stuart Broad, England 34 years old Stuart Broad. (Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images) Stuart Broad made his debut for England in 2006 and there’s been no looking back for the Nottingham-born. Though in the last four years, he hasn’t played white-ball cricket for the Brits, he has been a stalwart for them in Test cricket. Recently, he became the seventh bowler to pick up 500 wickets in the format, getting the feat against the West Indies at the Old Trafford in Manchester. He is only the second Englishman after James Anderson to have gotten to the landmark. At the age of 34, Broad has shown a great amount of fitness and is expected to have a few years of cricket up his sleeves. Being a fast bowler, Broad hasn’t suffered a lot of injuries in his career either. In 140 matches thus far, the veteran has 501 wickets with 18 five-wicket hauls and three 10-wicket hauls. Azhar Ali, Pakistan 35 years old Azhar Ali of Pakistan. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images) Azhar Ali isn’t a kind of batter, who would go hammer and tongs at everything. The 35-year-old is rather someone, who would bide his time in the middle, getting the measure of the conditions and the opposition bowling. He isn’t an out-an-out attacking player, something which can be comprehended from his ODI strike-rate of 74.45, albeit he has three centuries and 12 fifties. However, it’s in Test cricket that Azhar has managed to shine. In 78 games, Pakistan Test captain has racked up 5,919 runs at an average of 42.58 with 16 tons and 31 fifties to show for his efforts. He has a couple of double centuries against Bangladesh and Australia and a triple ton versus West Indies in 2016 in Dubai. Azhar is a batsman, Pakistan team has counted on in critical situations of a contest. Ross Taylor, New Zealand 36 years old Ross Taylor. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images) Even at the age of 36, Ross Taylor has been a consistent performer for New Zealand across all the three formats. He forayed into international cricket way back in 2006 and has tasted success equally at the highest level. The Wellington-born was one of the key reasons behind the Black Caps’ ending the 2019 World Cup as the runners-up. He has 8,574 ODI runs from 232 games at an average of 48.In Test cricket, Taylor has amassed 7,238 runs from 101 games at average of 46.10. Even in T20I cricket, the right-hander hasn’t flattered to deceive. From 100 matches in the shortest format, Taylor racked up 1,909 runs at 26.51. The veteran also has 40 centuries and 91 half-centuries to show for his efforts. Moreover, he hasn’t shown any signs of bidding adieu to the sport. James Anderson, England   37 years old LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 11: James Anderson of England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images) There’s no stopping James Anderson, the veteran England fast bowler. It’s been nearly a couple of decades in the pacer’s international career and he has still been going great guns at the highest level. He has suffered from injuries in the last 12 months or so, but he has kept coming back and stamped his authority. Moreover, he hasn’t given any signs of hanging his boots from the sport. In 153 Tests, Anderson has picked up 589 wickets with 28 five-wicket hauls and three 10-wicket hauls to show for his efforts. Though he last played ODI cricket back in 2015, he was a stalwart even in the 50-overs format, having picked up 269 wickets from 194 matches at a decent economy of 4.92. The Lancashire-born pacer also plied his trade in 19 T20Is where he picked up 18 wickets. *At the time of writing the article, Anderson was 37 years old. He turned 38 on July 30, 2020.  Shoaib Malik, Pakistan 38 years old Shoaib Malik. (Photo Source: Twitter) Shoaib Malik made his debut for Pakistan way back in October 1999 and he hasn’t showed any signs of slowing down. Though he has retired from ODI and Test cricket, the Sialkot-born isn’t finished yet as far as the T20I format is concerned. The 38-year-old has played all around the world and has been a grand success. He last played international cricket in the home T20Is versus Bangladesh in January. In 35 Tests, Malik managed 1,898 runs with three centuries and eight half-centuries. However, in the ODI and T20I formats, he showed his true class and calibre. In the 50-overs format, Malik scored 7,534 runs with nine tons and 44 fifties. He was a busy player and never allowed bowlers to settle. In T20Is, he has played as many as 113 games, scoring 2,321 runs. He also has 218 wickets for Pakistan. MS Dhoni, India 39 years old MS Dhoni. (Photo Source: Getty Images) MS Dhoni is undoubtedly one of the greatest captains India have ever produced. He started as someone, who took the opposition by the scruff of their necks. However, as his career progressed, he became a matured and responsible character. In 2004 he made his debut against Bangladesh and in 2007, he led India to glory in the T20 World Cup in South Africa. Then the Jharkhand-born was appointed as the Test and ODI captain as well. Thereafter in 2011 and 2013, he captained the Men in Blue to victory in the 50-overs World Cup and the Champions Trophy respectively. In his international career, Dhoni has scored over 16,000 runs with 16 centuries and 108 half-centuries. It was in the 2019 World Cup when he played for the last time, but that hasn’t impacted his fandom by any means. His keeping prowess also was stupendous.

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