Some pretty impressive youngsters missed out Wisden‘s Under-25 World Test XI. Here’s the lowdown on the unlucky stars that came under close consideration.
Prithvi Shaw – India, 20
4 Tests, 335 runs @ 55.83, 1 100, HS: 134
Shaw was desperately unlucky not to make the XI, with the panel considering him as an option in the top four. The 20-year-old had a remarkable start to his Test career in October 2018, when he marked his maiden innings with 134 against West Indies, and a half-century and unbeaten 33 not out in the next Test confirmed a star in the making. But it was only earlier this year against New Zealand that Shaw made his return, an ankle injury on the tour of Australia in late 2018 and doping ban in 2019 disrupting his progress. A first-innings 54 in Christchurch showed that the talent hadn’t gone anywhere.
Mehidy Hasan – Bangladesh, 22
22 Tests, 90 wickets @ 33.12, 7 five-wicket hauls, BBI: 7-58
It’s been nearly four years since Mehidy spun his way through England in his debut series, returning 19 wickets in just two Tests, and he was just edged out by Rashid Khan, who the panel wanted to let loose in a five-man attack. Just 22 years of age, Mehidy already has two 12-wicket hauls to his name and is just 10 shy of becoming the fourth Bangladesh bowler to 100 Test wickets.
Naseem Shah – Pakistan, 17
4 Tests, 13 wickets @ 26.84, 1 five-wicket haul, BBI: 5-31
The panel opted for Naseem’s more senior teammate, Shaheen Afridi, but there was some consternation over leaving out the 17-year-old with an action to die for. The teen sensation became the youngest bowler to take a Test hat-trick in February when he ran through Bangladesh in Rawalpindi. England will have their work cut out when he lines up against them next month.
Alzarri Joseph – West Indies, 23
11 Tests*, 28 wickets @ 35.32, BBI: 3-53
Joseph has impressed in West Indies’ ongoing series against England, bowling with pace and hostility in the four-wicket win at the Ageas Bowl. Behind the more experienced heads of Messrs Holder, Gabriel and Roach, he fits in nicely as the tearaway still finding his way.
Lungi Ngidi – South Africa, 24
5 Tests, 15 wickets @ 25.06, 1 five-wicket haul, BBI: 6-39
Ngidi’s finest work so far has been in ODI cricket; he reached 50 wickets in the format in just his 26th appearance. Injuries have limited him to five Test appearances since he broke out with a six-for on debut against India, but a future involving him and Kagiso Rabada running through batting line-ups is not hard to envisage.
Ibrahim Zadran – Afghanistan, 18
2 Tests, 148 runs @ 37, HS: 87
Only 18, Ibrahim has already acquired a place in the annals of Afghanistan’s cricketing hall of fame; on debut against Bangladesh last year, a third-innings 87 at the top of the order helped his country to their second victory in Test cricket.
Shimron Hetmyer – West Indies, 23
16 Tests, 838 runs @ 27.93, HS: 93
An aggressive left-hander and the darling of social media when he dons the floppy hat, Hetmyer’s talents have been more visible in one-day cricket; his first 22 ODIs returned four centuries. His talents haven’t been witnessed in the ongoing England-West Indies series after he opted against joining the tour.
Lasith Embuldeniya – Sri Lanka, 23
7 Tests, 30 wickets @ 39.80, 2 five-wicket hauls, BBI: 5-66
The heir of the great Herath, Embuldeniya’s loopy left-armers played their part in that Kusal Perera-inspired victory over South Africa in Durban last year, with the debutant taking 5-66 in South Africa’s second innings.
Jhye Richardson – Australia, 23
2 Tests, 6 wickets @ 20.50, BBI: 3-26
A troublesome shoulder has been the bane of Richard’s existence since he made his entry onto the Test scene at the start of 2019, but the talent is obvious, with that whippy action producing pace and wickets.
Kuldeep Yadav – India, 25
6 Tests, 24 wickets @ 24.12, 2 five-wicket hauls, BBI: 5-57
A regular in the one-day arena, Kuldeep has yet to establish himself in India’s Test XI, although he has shown plenty of promise in his few appeareances. His last appearance came in Sydney last year, with his left-arm wrist-spin returning an innings haul of 5-99 in the draw that took India to their first-ever Test series win in Australia.