Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Gill, Iyer, Ravindra, Jansen: World Cup debutants who made headlines

Shubman Gill, Travis Head, Shreyas Iyer, Mohammed Siraj, Rachin Ravindra and Marco Jansen are different people but have one thing in common — they have all excelled in their debut World Cup in the 2023 edition in India.

They join fellow first-timers Dwaid Malan, Azmat Omarzai, Mitchell Marsh, Devon Conway, Scott Edwards and Cameron Green, stars who kept their national flag aloft in the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023.

In contrast to them are Harry Brook of England and Haris Rauf of Pakistan, both of whom were expected to take the World Cup by storm in their debut. However, they had mixed results as their teams failed to make it to the knockout stage.

Gill, Siraj and Iyer were the biggest gains for India as they endured some tough times to excel in their maiden World Cup.

The 24-year-old Gill enhanced his reputation as a top-class opener as he cemented his partnership with skipper Rohit Sharma, scoring 346 runs in eight innings. He scored 16 on his debut against Pakistan but scored his first World Cup half-century (53) in the next innings against Bangladesh at Pune. He nearly got his maiden World Cup hundred in the match against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede before getting out for 94.

He also had two more half-centuries, a 51 against the Netherlands and an unbeaten 80 not out against New Zealand at the Wankhede. The right-hander made the most the chances that came his way.

Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma went for his shots and tried to build his innings around his aggressive partner.

Shreyas Iyer is another Indian batter who made a huge impact in his first World Cup. Coming back from injury, he was under pressure to make a big -performance in the middle order.

He held the middle-order under control along with K.L Rahul. With Virat Kohli assigned the job of holding one end up, Iyer played attacking cricket around him as he scored back-to-back hundreds — against the Netherlands and New Zealand in the semis. Iyer scored 526 runs going into the final.

Though Jasprit Bumrah and Shubman Gill, held the innings together it was Mohammed Siraj, who provided early breakthroughs. Bumrah was coming back from injury while fellow pacer Mohammed Shami got left out as India tried a different balance with Hardik Pandya playing as all-rounder.

The seasoned Mohammed Shami was the top wicket-taker for India with 23 scalps in seven matches, Bumrah has so far claimed 18 wickets with Siraj claiming 13 wickets. More importantly, Siraj executed his role to perfection.

Another first-timer who made his impact on his World Cup debut is Travis Head of Australia who overcame an injury, to make a mark in the limited opportunity he got. While David is the highest scorer for Australia with 528 runs, Head has scored a century in the five matches he has played after recovering from the injury and joining Warner as the opener.

While the 2019 winners, England were a disaster in the 2023 World Cup, the only bright spot for them was Dawid Malan’s form and superb batting as he scored 404 runs in nine matches in his first World Cup at an average of 44.48. Malan struck a century and two half-centuries as he built up his reputation as a top-order batter.

Azmatullah Omarzai came up with some crucial knocks at the top as Afghanistan came very close to qualifying for the knockout stage. In the process, Afghanistan caused a few upsets in the World Cup by beating England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka before their hopes came crashing down against India and Australia.

Along with his seasoned teammates Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah and skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi, Omarzai helped Afghanistan mount some fine chases as they won four matches.

Omarzai on his part scored 454 runs at an average of 70.60 and had an highest of 97 not out.

Rachin Ravindra along with Daryl Mitchell (552 runs) was the star performer Cup as New Zealand managed to reach the semifinal for the fifth time in a row and came close to upsetting India before Mohammed Shami ended their resistance.

Ravindra provided New Zealand with some great starts with Devon Conway, another first-timer, going on to hammer 578 runs in 10 innings at an average of 64.22.

The 24-year-old blasted three centuries and two half-centuries and that too at a fast clip as New Zealand had a roller-coaster ride, winning the first four matches and losing the next four before New Zealand came back to seal a place in the semis.

Ravindra, who was born to Indian-origin parents and has a name which is derived from Rahul and Sachin. He also claimed five wickets.

Though South Africa’s campaign in the World Cup ended in disappointment and a defeat to arch-rivals Australia in the semifinals, allrounder Marco Jansen along with opener Quinton de Kock were the two bright spots for them.

First-timer Jansen scored 157 runs in eight innings of nine matches and also claimed 17 wickets, giving them vital early breakthroughs as they finished behind India in the second position at the end of the league stage.

Apart from mesmerising with their skills, these above-mentioned players have also proved that they are players for the future and their exploits will be talked about till the next edition.

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