Emerging Players to Watch Under 21: Men Part 1

Emerging DS Airee

Dipendra Singh Airee
Right-hand batsman

Thrust into the national team set-up in 2017, Dipendra Singh Airee was a member of Nepal’s 2016 U19 World Cup squad, though made headlines for the first time in emerging circles a year later at the U19 Asia Cup. Beating defending champions India almost single-handedly, Airee made 88 of his team’s 185, and took 4-39 as the superpowers lost 9-75. As captain of that side and appointed vice-captain of the senior side last September, Airee is earmarked as a future leader of his country, to shoulder the pressures of the cricket-mad country and its fans.

Blessed with a good eye, Airee flashes his hands at anything with width despite a short backlift, and can motor the innings along with a range of shots. Development in his footwork, patience and innings tempo will complete the puzzle, and Airee could become the glue that holds the Nepali middle order together for the next decade and beyond.

Chima Akachukwu, Emerging Nigeria
Chima Akachukwu (ICC Media Zone)

Chima Akachukwu
Right-arm medium

Not many people can say they made their national team debut at 15 like Chima Akachukwu. From World Cricket League Division 5 then, to the lights and cameras of a T20 World Cup qualifier, the 19-year-old should be a mainstay in Nigeria’s continued progress in the sport.

Classed as a medium-pacer, Akachukwu is able to ramp up his speed to surprise batsmen, something Canada’s Rodrigo Thomas found out at last year’s qualifier in UAE. Beating Thomas’ defences with one in the blockhole, Akachukwu also picked up his opening partner, Navneet Dhaliwal.

Punching through the crease with a compact action and delivery stride, Akachukwu is also able to swing the ball away from the right-hander in spite of his front-on action. With the combination of swing early, and variation of pace in the death overs, the young quick will play a pivotal role.

Frank Akanwasa (Uganda Cricket)

Frank Akankwasa
Right-hand batsman
Right-arm off-spin

Hailing from the Strikers club, Akankwasa idolises Glenn Maxwell and you can see it in his game: a dashing right-hander with more than handy off-breaks in the kitbag. Selected in last year’s African ICC High-Performance program in Potchefstroom, Akankwasa is identified as a long-term Ugandan talent, with a high ceiling in both facets of the game.

Akankwasa’s T20I debut showed he is no shrinking violet, pummelling 66 off 33 balls against Qatar away from home in February. Remarkably, 56 of those runs were made in boundaries.

Only bowling four overs across his three international appearances at senior level, the 17-year-old is keen to develop more variation and trickery on that side of his game.


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