Shoriful leads line of Tigers youth prodigies

Cricket’s rich history is dotted with legends who have left a lasting legacy on the sport. Through their performances with the bat, ball or both in several cases, these players have risen head and shoulders above their contemporaries to achieve greatness, report agencies. For some like Sir Don Bradman and Sachin Tendulkar, the talent was undeniable from the moment they stepped on to the cricket field as a rookie. Meanwhile, others such as James Anderson, Virat Kohli and Younis Khan have honed their skills over the years to ultimately transform into extraordinary players.

Many youngsters, meanwhile, have promised plenty in their fledgling stages before fading into obscurity or mediocrity. As such, it is never easy to predict the career trajectory of young players entering the game, no matter how talented they might be. While there is no telling where their careers will ultimately lead, there is nothing more exciting than watching fresh talents announcing their arrival in cricket. In this series, we take a look at some of the most exciting cricketers around the world who are aged 23 or below.

A country whose youth development programme is in the spotlight suddenly is Bangladesh, with the Tigers going on to lift their maiden ICC U19 World Cup title earlier this year after beating favourites India in the final. Bangladesh’s fairytale World Cup winning campaign was an all-round team effort. However, it is hard to look past Shoriful Islam when it comes to picking their brightest talent.

The 18-year-old, born in the small town of Panchagor, was a nightmare to deal for batsmen in South Africa with his relentless lines and lengths. Islam’s talents had already been on show before the U19 tournament, with the left-armed seamer finishing as the top wicket-taker in the 2017 Dhaka Premier League. Having been a part of the Bangladesh A team set-up, as well as the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), the youngster was primed to be a key player for the U19 team in South Africa. A key player he did turn out to be, with Islam picking up nine key wickets at a stellar economy-rate of just 3.64. Two of those wickets came in the final against India where he rattled the favourites with his aggression and intensity.

With unwavering accuracy, an ability to move the ball both ways and a clever off-cutter, Islam has all the attributes to become a success at senior level. He is among six players from the squad that have been placed in a special U21 programme for two years by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB). The Tigers have struggled to produce quality pacers on a consistent basis, and they will hope that Islam can fill that void for the senior team in the coming years.