Emerging Players to Watch Under 21: Men Part 2

Kushal Malla - MyRepublica - Emerging Cricket
(MyRepublica)

Kushal Malla
Nepal
Left-hand batsman
Left-arm orthodox
16

Another Nepali record-breaker, Butwal boy Kushal Malla represents the new age of Nepal cricket: a hard-hitting, finger-spinning all-rounder with no inhibition, nor fear of failure. Malla made headlines by making a fifty as a 15-year-old (becoming the youngest to do so) on ODI debut against the USA. Curiously, the record was held by the man he replaced in the team: Rohit Paudel.

Striking above 100 in both formats of the game, Malla’s gun-ho attitude is clear to see, though after five T20Is without a score of note, it hasn’t paid off just yet. Continued match practice will iron out these creases in his game, and the discipline should come from the experience gained.

By contrast, Kushal’s bowling is rather defensive and disciplined. Used more as a containment bowler to spin the ball away from the right-hander, his early numbers suggest that he could be most effective tightening the screws in the middle overs. If used in tandem with Sandeep Lamichhane, he may profit from batsmen looking for an outlet.

Malla has the potential to win matches for his country with both bat and ball, and should reach it if he brings the impressive elements of his bowling over to his batting.

Karthik Palaniapan Meiyyapan - ICC - Emerging Cricket
(ICC Media Zone)

Karthik Palaniapan Meiyyapan
UAE
Leg-spinner
19

Already with four ODI appearances to his name, Meiyyapan is another player fast-tracked into the Emirati senior team after the controversies of 2019. The leg-spinner has jumped at the opportunity, taking six wickets at an average of a tick over twenty thus far.

A slightly shorter run-up to the typical modern leggie, Meiyappan also has an atypical higher release point and aims to bowl a little shorter and flatter than most. Showing control early in his international career, Meiyappan gets into the rhythm of his spell early, an underrated attribute for spinners and their craft.

Meiyappan chipped in with five wickets in UAE’s U19 World Cup campaign in South Africa earlier in the year, but it is his readiness for the senior team, and a game that matches the vigours of senior international play, that bodes well for his future success.

Mauritius Ngupita - Namibia - Emerging Cricket
(ICC Media Zone)

Mauritius Ngupita
19
Off-spin
Namibia

Hailing from Walvis Bay, the second-largest city in the country and roughly a four-hour drive from Windhoek, Ngupita brings something a little different to the table in comparison to the spinners currently in the national team. Potentially a good foil for Bernard Scholtz or Zhivago Groenewald’s left-arm-orthodox, Ngupita has a compact off-spinning action with a tight pivot, almost in a mixture of Ravi Ashwin and Nathan Lyon.

Starting in the national set-up in the Namibian U14s team and moving through the age groups, a senior international debut isn’t far away. Representing the national team in South Africa’s 3-day Sunfoil Cup as a 17-year-old, Ngupita was selected for their Oman tour for Cricket World Cup League Two, though did not get the tap on the shoulder to make an ODI debut.

While competition is fierce in a Namibian team full of spin depth, one thinks Ngupita will get a chance soon, especially when conditions suit.

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