Cricket has seen a lot of change in the past few years, especially with T20 and league cricket becoming mainstream. Unlike earlier, budding cricketers need not go through the grind of domestic tournaments to make an impression; fast-paced T20 leagues these days propel players to instant stardom. So, in 2019, while saw Jofra Archer bursting on to the cricketing scene after a successful Big Bash League in Australia, Mayank Agrawal’s wait for a national call-up got longer as he failed to replicate his Ranji Trophy form in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018.
Business Standard picks the top three cricket debutantes who made great first impressions in 2019:
Mayank Agarwal, India cricket team
Role: Opening batsman
Batting style: Right-handed
India's Mayank Agarwal celebrates after scoring his maiden double century on the 2nd day of the 1st cricket test match against South Africa at Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium. Photo: PTI
Mayank Agarwal had scored 4,849 runs in first-class cricket at an average of 49.98 for Karnataka before being selected for the Indian national cricket team. Agarwal was first drafted in the team in place of an injured Prithvi Shaw for the Boxing Day Test of 2018. But he got his chance only in the second Test after Murali Vijay was dropped due to his horrific form. Agarwal announced his arrival with a classy 76, and then went on to show the world he was no flash in the pan with another half-century in Sydney.
The right-hander hasn’t looked back since. He cemented his place in the Indian Test team with a maiden Test hundred against South Africa in October at home and scored his maiden double-ton against Bangladesh a month later. Now, a major test awaits him in New Zealand, where India cricket team will visit for a two-match series in February.
Jofra Archer, England cricket team
Role: Bowling all-rounder
Batting style: Right-handed
Bowling style: Right-arm fast
England's Jofra Archer
It’s always exciting to see a fast bowler running in and bowling at a good pace, irrespective of the format, unless, of course, you are the batsman at the crease waiting to face his delivery. One interesting find among fast bowlers in international cricket this year has been England’s Jofra Archer.
Archer scalped 20 wickets in his maiden World Cup and helped the England team win their first-ever One Day International (ODI) world cup while bowling the crucial Super Over for the team. He was equally successful in red-ball cricket, showing signs that he could bowl long spells without cutting down on his speed. His battle with Steve Smith at Lord's during the Ashes series was one for the best cricketing moments of 2019.
Marnus Labuschagne, Australia cricket team
Role: Batting all-rounder
Batting style: right-handed
Bowling style: Leg-break
Marcus Labuschagne. Photo: cricketcomau
Marcus Labuschagne became the first concussion substitute in the history of Test cricket, when he replaced Steve Smith at Lord's and played an innings of his life in Ashes. During the Australian season, he was promoted to the number-three spot, pushing Smith to number four. He lived up to team management’s expectation and went on to outscore Smith, who was himself in tremendous form on his comeback.
Labuschagne was the top scorer in Tests at the end of the calendar year 2019, with 1,104 runs in 11 matches at an average of 64.94, with three hundreds and seven half-centuries.