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Nine potential breakout stars in international cricket for 2023

Yas Rana by Yas Rana
@Yas_Wisden 5 minute read

The treadmill that is international cricket just never stops. If you thought the 2022 calendar was busy, the 2023 schedule is just as packed.

In the men’s game, there’s a bumper India-Australia Test series early in the year, a World Test Championship final, the small matter of an Ashes series and a World Cup in India. The women’s game sees a T20 World Cup in South Africa and an Ashes series of its own in the English summer.

As we enter a new year, we have a go at predicting nine potential breakout stars in the international game in 2023. There’s no strict criteria over who qualifies as a ‘breakout’ player but the general principle behind each selection is that every player is either not yet established for their country, or is newly established but is yet to truly announce themselves on the biggest stage.


Here’s who we chose last year.

Ibrahim Zadran

Zadran turned 21 in December but he has already achieved considerable success for Afghanistan. Back in 2019, Zadran scored 87 on Test debut while still just 17 and while he was a member of the Afghanistan side at last year’s T20 World Cup it is in the longer formats that his strengths really lie at the minute. Zadran averages more than 60 in ODI cricket and recently enjoyed a prolific series against Sri Lanka. Afghanistan have been the surprise package in the ODI World Cup Super League, and have qualified automatically for the 10-team World Cup well ahead of Sri Lanka, South Africa and West Indies in the standings. The World Cup comes at a perfect time for Zadran to demonstrate the extent of his immense potential against the world’s best; the opener is well on track to become Afghanistan’s first great batter.

Todd Murphy

The bespectacled off-spinner gained attention in late 2022 after highlights of his spell against a touring West Indies side drew comparisons with former England tweaker Graeme Swann, including from the man himself. Murphy – like Zadran, a 2020 U19 World Cup graduate – has quickly established himself as one of the most potent red-ball spinners in Australia. At 22, there is no indication that he is set to usurp Nathan Lyon as Australia’s first-choice spinner any time soon but a tour to India in early 2023 means that a place in the Test squad is more than just an outside possibility. Even if selected in the squad, Australia may favour someone whose stock ball turns in the opposite direction to Lyon, but a lot can happen in four Tests so don’t be surprised if Murphy not only plays but excels in India.

Will Jacks

2022 was a big year for Will Jacks. The 24-year-old was a revelation for Surrey in their County Championship-winning campaign, establishing himself not only as a first-class batter of note but also, more often than not, as his side’s first choice spinner. Those all-round qualities won him a first Test call-up and on debut, he claimed a six-wicket haul in an England Test win – a prospect that seemed a world away at the start of 2022. He has long been a T20 batter of promise, but last year he once more stepped up a notch. In 2022, he became the second player to score a century in The Hundred before making his T20I debut in Pakistan and then earning a big money IPL deal with RCB. For all his talent, he is not yet established in the England side in any format and while there’s not an immediately obvious avenues into any of their three teams at the minute, his versatility makes him an attractive option.

In the Test game, he has been retained in England’s squad for their upcoming tour of New Zealand as a spare middle order option and as the squad’s second spinner while his overall package makes him a decent alternative to Moeen Ali or Liam Livingstone in the ODI set up – the pair are undoubtedly T20 superstars but their recent ODI numbers are mixed. Then there’s the tantalising prospect of that first IPL appearance. Doubts linger over Glenn Maxwell’s fitness and with Jacks brought in as the obvious like-for-like replacement, do not be surprised if Jacks enjoys a prolonged run for the franchise in 2023.

Dewald Brevis

Despite all the hype generated this year, Dewald Brevis is still yet to play for South Africa. The right-hander shot to fame in 2022 off the back of an outstanding Under-19 World Cup campaign during which he instantly drew comparisons to AB de Villiers. In a representation of how the landscape of the modern game is changing, Brevis became one of three South African players to have recently represented Mumbai Indians in the IPL before their nation in international cricket. At 19, there is no rush to fast-stream Brevis into the South Africa team – contrary to their struggles with the bat in Test cricket, they are actually reasonably well stocked with batting options against the white ball. Selection for the ODI World Cup – should South Africa qualify, which is no given – is a possibility but nothing more than that on account of his limited experience. Even if that first South Africa cap eludes him in 2023, expect Brevis to leap up a level in 2023. His 162 off 57 in a South African domestic game in October may well be a sign of things to come.

Anjali Sarvani

Anjali Sarvani made history in late 2022 by becoming the first Indian left-arm seamer to represent their country in women’s T20I cricket. Sarvani was thrown into the mix against the best team in the world, playing all five of India’s T20Is against Australia in December. Her numbers might not leap off the page just yet but she held her own against the T20 World Cup favourites. She offers India something different with the new ball and has the ability to prise out top-class batters early in the innings. India are probably the most likely side to challenge Australia in South Africa and Sarvani, just five games into her international career, could play a big part of that campaign.

Tagenarine Chanderpaul

You know the name but Tagenarine Chanderpaul is still in the infancy of his West Indies career. The crabby left-hander forced his way into the West Indies side through the sheer weight of his domestic run-scoring which has been far more impressive in recent times than his overall career numbers might suggest. Chanderpaul emerged unscathed from his two-Test tussle against what is arguably the most penetrative bowling attack in the world in his first series as an international cricketer, finishing it with an average of exactly 40. Chanderpaul is all set to partner his captain Kraigg Brathwaite at the top of the order throughout West Indies’ Test calendar in 2023.

Gudakesh Motie

A familiar name to followers of the Caribbean Premier League, Gudakesh Motie made his ODI debut in 2022 and has made a quietly impressive start to his West Indies career. Motie took 4-23 from his 10 overs against Bangladesh to claw West Indies back into a contest they were never really in at Guyana and in his sole ODI against India, he dismissed both Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer when both were well set. Given the location of this year’s World Cup, you can expect the left-arm spin of Motie to play a part should West Indies get there.

Fazalhaq Farooqi

Like his compatriot Ibrahim Zadran, Fazalhaq Farooqi is firmly established in the Afghanistan team and excels at a skill which Afghanistan have had minimal historic success. The whippy left-arm quick is an in-demand new-ball operator in the franchise world and boasts an excellent record in both international white-ball formats. The World Cup in India should act as a great opportunity to announce himself to the wider world.

Ishan Kishan

Okay, Ishan Kishan might already be an established IPL superstar and the owner of an ODI double hundred, but in truth, he’s never really been a first-choice player for India in any format. That double hundred – made at record-breaking pace – could elevate Kishan into World Cup contention ahead of Shubman Gill and Shikhar Dhawan, while in Test cricket, Rishabh Pant’s likely long-term absence presents a possible short-term opportunity. KS Bharat is the favourite to take the gloves for the Australia series – should Pant miss out – but Kishan is a man in form having scored a first-class hundred for his Ranji Trophy side Jharkhand last month. Kishan could end up featuring in both the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and the World Cup, two of the biggest stages in the world game in 2023.

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