Emerging Players to Watch Under 21: Men Part 1

Vriittya Aravind
(ICC Media Zone)

Vriitya Aravind
United Arab Emirates
Right-hand batter
Wicketkeeper
17

Thrown into the depths of international cricket a little earlier than expected after ‘keeper Ghulam Shabber fled the country, the 17-year-old made his ODI debut in UAE’s home leg of Cricket World Cup League 2 against the USA. Skipping a school exam to realise his dream according to The National’s Paul Radley, Aravind has since made his T20I debut too, and was a key member of UAE’s U19 World Cup campaign.

The sound of the ball rocketing off the middle of his bat is the first thing that draws you into Aravind’s game. Front foot punches fly to the fence with little flourish, and he has a knack to pull hard and skywards even off a good length. With such timing and power belying his thin frame, don’t be surprised to see big scores at astonishing strike rates next to his name.

(Franklin Kaweru/Kawowo Sports)

Zephaniah Arinaitwe
Uganda
Right-hand batsman
18

The other Ugandan player at the African ICC High Performance program along with Akankwasa, Arinaitwe is touted as a future opening aggressor, after much success at junior level.

Snatching headlines by scoring a 40-ball hundred against Tanzania at last year’s African U19 World Cup Qualifier and completing a chase of 145 in less than 13 overs, it was his knock of 69 from 30 balls against Namibia which showed arguably more class.

Yet to make a score of note in full T20 internationals, the man they call Young De Villiers is poised to explode at the top of the order when things click.

Pedro Baron behind the stumps in 2018 (ICC Media Zone)

Pedro Baron
Argentina
Wicketkeeper
19

Plundering a century in February described as ‘destructive’ by the touring MCC touring team on the receiving end, 19-year-old Pedro Baron showed the form that put his name into the senior national team frame. Making runs at youth level to bang the door down, Baron’s most notable performance was an unbeaten 117 off 54 balls at the U17 Junior South American Championships in 2018.

Coming in between six and eight in his early days for the senior team, Baron played in his country’s first official T20I at the South American Championships last October. Picked as a batsman with 24-year-old Ramiro Escobar taking the gloves, Baron is capable in the field too, and will be a peripheral figure in the next decade of Argentine cricket.

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