Emerging Players to Watch Under 21: Men Part 2

(ICC Media Zone)

Sulaimon Runsewe
Nigeria
Right-hand batsman
Wicketkeeper
18

“That’s probably the fastest you’ve run in your life.”

In one of the more light-hearted moments at the T20 World Cup Qualifier, Alan Wilkins alongside HD Ackerman could only laugh when 18-year-old Runsewe needed to take a nature break during his innings against Canada. On 18 off as many balls, Runsewe added another 9 before falling to Saad Bin Zafar.

Not just on and off the field, Runsewe is lightning between the wickets and plays with a compact technique, turning ones into twos with touch around the ground. A member of both the senior side at the T20 World Cup Qualifier, Runsewe was the vice-captain at the U19 World Cup, making the first half-century for his country against Japan.

A run machine in junior continental cricket, Runsewe has the game and the temperament to make waves at the next level.

Pawan Sarraf (WicketNepal)

Pawan Sarraf
Nepal
Right-hand batsman

Off-spin
19

Another day, another Nepali gem.

Finding prodigies has never been a problem in the country. Instead, issues have surrounded continued development, making the most of the talent in their hands. Sarraf is an example of a diamond in the rough: plenty of potential, but not quite a finished product.

An off-spinning all-rounder who has moved up and down the batting order, Sarraf’s career will blossom when it’s worked out how to use him best. In eleven innings, Sarraf has almost batted in every position in the top seven already.

At ease off the back foot, and strong on the sweep shot, Sarraf is adept at playing cross-bat shots off any length. Comfortable playing spin, Sarraf’s improvement playing off the front foot will round his game. With the ball, Sarraf ties to get as tall as possible to maximise his bounce.

(ICC Media Zone)

Ben Shikongo
Namibia
Right-arm medium-fast
19

Nought and two to begin their T20 World Cup Qualifying campaign last year, Namibia was staring down the barrel of bundling out of the tournament, spoiling a trailblazing 2019 to that point.

Forced to reshuffle, Shikongo was included as extra quick, and an unknown to other teams in UAE. Beating the defences of Craig Wallace in the team’s first over with the ball, his injection of pace was one of the turning points of Namibia’s campaign, with the Eagles eventually booking a ticket to Australia.

To the naked eye, Shikongo edges other youngsters in the group on speed. A strong action, Shikongo transfers energy through the crease with a sprinter’s run-up, before ripping his left arm down hard to generate his pace.

With a spate of all-rounders and other quicks on the Namibian fringes, Shikongo is still a future spearhead of the bowling attack.

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