When the annals of Bangladesh cricket are sifted by future generations, Shakib Al Hasan will emerge and re-emerge as the greatest cricketer of its first two decades. His on-field performances and off-field professionalism set a benchmark that was followed by peers and juniors alike. As a bowler, Shakib is accurate, consistent and canny; aggression and a wide range of strokes are the keys to his batting. Even more importantly, he has self-belief an excellent temperament, unflustered by the big occasion and ready to do battle against the top teams.
The best of his ability and temperament were on display in his first Test as captain, against a weakened West Indies side in Grenada, when Shakib took eight wickets and scored an unbeaten 96 in a tense but successful fourth-innings chase of 215, leading Bangladesh to their first overseas series victory. In only his fourth Test as captain, Shakib scored 87 and 100 - his maiden Test century - in a losing cause against New Zealand in Hamilton, performances that offered further proof of his skill and ability to handle pressure. Read more
As soon as he broke into the side at the age of 22, while a law student, it was apparent that Kumar Sangakkara was destined for more than just batting stardom. The left-handers that had preceded him, like Arjuna Ranatunga and Asanka Gurusinha, had been pugnacious battlers but Sangakkara was cut from more graceful cloth, easing into strokes with the elegance often associated withthose that play with the 'other' hand. The cut and the pull came naturally to him and with growing confidence, he became a more assured front-foot player as well.
Ranatunga had already exploded the myth of the Sri Lankans being meek men who could be bullied, but Sangakkara has refined the belligerence, combining a suave exterior with cutting asides and sharp sledges from behind the stumps. Initially, his glovework wasn't for the purists, but such was his batting ability that there was no question of displacing him from the XI. Read more
Of Shahid Afridi it can safely be said that cricket never has and never will see another like him. To say he is an allrounder is to say Albert Einstein was a scientist; it tells a criminally bare story.
For a start, the slant of his all-round skills only became clear ten years into his career; he is a leg-spinning allrounder. Variety is his calling and as well as a traditional leg-break, he has two googlies, a conventional offie and a lethal faster one, though this is increasingly rare. All come with the threat of considerable, late drift. He fairly hustles through overs, which in limited-over formats is a weapon in itself and the package is dangerous.
But forever associated with him will be his madcap batting, the prospect of which is a crowd-puller the world over. He is a compulsive basher, literally unable to control his urges to slog every ball that comes his way, and not much of it is classical. Read more
To conquer international cricket, Shane Watson first had to beat his fragile body. Despite boasting an athletic figure made for photo shoots, Watson's frame was so brittle it threatened to break him. He refused to give up. Not through recurrences of back stress fractures, hamstring strains, calf problems, hip complaints, a dislocated shoulder or a suspected heart attack that turned out to be food poisoning. He changed his training, preferring pilates to weights, gave up alcohol, but not his dream. It finally paid off in 2009, when he was chosen as a Test opener in the middle of the Ashes series. Many batsmen would have been uncomfortable with the promotion from the middle order, especially after failing when given the job with Queensland, but Watson had become used to re-inventing himself. With a history of setbacks, it was not a surprise that his first Test century became such a drama, but after two scores in the 90s and an 89, he finally brought it up at the MCG against Pakistan - thanks to a single from a dropped catch. Read more
Sunil Narine, a mystery spinner, caught the West Indies selectors' attention by taking all ten wickets in a trial match and received a call up to the Trinidad & Tobago squad in January 2009. He may not have accomplished that in international cricket , but every time Narine came to bowl, he looked like taking a wicket. His bag of tricks - an assortment of carrom balls, knuckle balls and skidders - led West Indies to the World T20 title in 2012 - the first time they claimed a World trophy since 1979.
He was one of the chief architects of Kolkata Knight Riders' two title victories in 2012 and 2014 - well worth the investment they put in him. He was bought at US $700,000 in 2012, promptly became the Man of the Tournament and has been retained by the franchise ever since. Narine once bowled more overs than runs conceded in a Twenty20 match, with 21 dot balls out of 24 in the Caribbean Premier League 2014. Read more
"I hit a lot of sixes, big sixes like him," Evin Lewis said when asked why he chose Chris Gayle as his mentor. For an upcoming left-handed opening batsman, especially in the modern game, that's a fairly smart pick.
Lewis moved up the ranks playing age-group cricket for Trinidad & Tobago, and was part of a championship winning Under-19 side in 2008. His List A debut came in October 2009, when he struck a half-century playing for West Indies U-19s. The following January he was representing them at the World Cup.
Like Gayle, Lewis' best has come in the T20 circuit. In 2013, he was Trinidad & Tobago's top-scorer in the Champions League with a strike-rate of 141.61. He showed big-match credentials, striking 62 off 46 balls in the semi-final against a Mumbai Indians attack comprising Mitchell Johnson and Harbhajan Singh. The following year, at the Caribbean Premier League, he made 321 runs from eight innings, the most by a T&T Red Steel batsman and only 42 behind Gayle, who had played 11 innings. Read more
Mohammad Amir, a left-arm pace bowler, reveres Wasim Akram. Over 2007 and 2008, he also emerged, still improbably young, as a hot pace prospect. Even before he went to England on an U-19 tour, he had been picked out as a special talent by Akram himself at a pace camp he oversaw in Lahore in May 2007. By 2010, he had become the hottest pace bowling prospect around the world - but within months his career was in ruins following charges of spot-fixing.
He began in 2009 with an impressive showing on the domestic circuit, impressing with his whippy pace and swing. He took 55 wickets for National Bank of Pakistan in his debut season, and earned selection to the Pakistan World T20 squad. There he hit the big time, taking over from an out-of-sorts Sohail Tanvir and bowling with pace, accuracy and courage.
He hovered in the high 80mphs, touching even 90 on occasion and was a crucial opening link in Pakistan's title run. Read more
A batting allrounder with powerful shots square of the wicket, Asela Gunaratne put together several impressive seasons for Sri Lanka Army Sports Club before eventually being considered for higher honours in 2016. Though not an immediately eye-catching player, it was his consistency that impressed: batting in the middle order, Gunaratne averaged more than 50 in three of the four Premier League Tournaments between 2012 and 2016. A wide range of strokes, including his favoured reverse sweep, had also helped his case.
He was a sporadic performer when chosen in the A side, yet was immediately effective in Tests, hitting a fifty and a hundred in his first three international innings, against Zimbabwe. With Angelo Mathews ruled out of that tour, Gunaratne also earned a place in the ODI squad, and made an impact with his dibbly-dobbly slow-medium bowling, claiming eight wickets at an average of 14. Read more
An attacking left-hand and unorthodox wicketkeeper-batsman, Niroshan Dickwella arrived in first-class cricket already having built some hype through his stellar school cricket career. He won Sri Lanka's Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award in 2012, having hit over 1000 runs in the previous season, and having led Trinity College to the national championship.
Since then, Dickwella has become Nondescripts Cricket Club's regular wicketkeeper across all competitions, thanks in part to Dinesh Chandimal's long absences from domestic cricket, due to his presence in the national team. Dickwella has been particularly impressive in across all formats in domestic cricket, and has been a fixture in the Sri Lanka A team. He made his Test debut as far back as July 2014 - at the age of 21 - but despite a sparkling 72 at SSC against a strong South Africa attack, did not hold his place for long. Read more
Graeme Cremer has chosen the hardest form of the game to master but his legspin showed enough promise to get him into the Zimbabwe side at 18 years old, after just six first-class matches. His selection at such a young age was entirely due to the exits of Paul Strang and Andy Whittall, and Ray Price's international hiatus, but it still takes some guts for a youngster to stand-up at Test level, and his debut series against Bangladesh provided a glimpse of his talent. He claimed six wickets in the two Tests but his next experience, against South Africa, was a much sterner challenge and he was viciously dealt with by Graeme Smith, AB de Villers and Jacques Kallis. He was on a hiding to nothing but such was the ferocity of the assault one felt for his state of mind, although to his credit he eventually dismissed all three. Zimbabwe's involvement in Test cricket was suspended soon afterward, and Cremer had to wait four years for another chance in the national side, eventually making his one-day debut against Kenya at Mombasa in January 2009. Read more
Ronsford Beaton gave a glimpse of his startling pace at Under-19 World Cup in 2012, where he picked up eight wickets in five matches. He broke through the first-class ranks for Guyana in 2011, but it wasn't until 2012-13 that he was seen as a fast bowler meant for higher honours. He took 16 wickets in six matches in the Regional four-day competition, complemented it with seven wickets in five matches in the subsequent T20 tournament and earned a deal with the CPL franchise Guyana Amazon Warriors. He has since moved to Trinbago Knight Riders.
Beaton, a product of WICB's High Performance centre, impressed for West Indies A during the one-day leg of the tour to Sri Lanka in November 2016 by picking up seven wickets in three games. In February, he was selected to play for WICB XI against the visiting England side in a warm-up fixture. Three months later, he received a maiden West Indies call-up for the T20I series against Afghanistan at home. Read more
Kevon Cooper is a medium-pace bowling allrounder from Trinidad & Tobago, in an era when the West Indies produced many of that ilk. Adept at bowling slower balls and cutters, capable of hitting quick runs down the order, and athletic in the field, Cooper possessed the qualities of the quintessential T20 cricketer and it was in this format that he achieved most of his success.
Cooper made his debut at the age of 19, for Trinidad & Tobago in the Stanford Super Series in 2008. He had to wait nearly two years for his next outing for T&T and it was in the following year, in 2011, that he really cemented his place in the side. He was one of T&T's main bowlers in their victorious Caribbean T20 campaign that year. Though his bowling action was reported during the tournament, he underwent remedial work in Perth and had his action cleared in time for him to participate in the Champions League T20 that September. Read more
Joe Denly looked well placed to establish himself in England's ODI and T20 teams after deservedly earning an international call-up in 2009 - and many thought he might also break into the Test line-up. Those ambitions never materialised, a move from Kent to Middlesex failing to reignite his career, and in 2015 he returned to the county of his birth. Remarkably, considering that Canterbury has been the county headquarters since 1870, Denly was held by the county's website to be the first capped player to be born in the town. Many words could be spent analysing the message that carried.
A product of the Kent youth system, having been with the county since the age of 13, Denly made his debut in 2004 against Oxford University. He served notice of his considerable talent with three half centuries in three Under-19s Tests whilst touring India with England in 2005. He captained both Kent 2nd XI and the ECB Development of Excellence XI team, and scored his maiden first-class hundred against Cambridge University in 2006. Read more
Mehedi Maruf is an opening batsman with plenty of experience at U19 level, having played in eleven matches for the U19 team, however he is yet to play in a first-class fixture. His highest score is only 36, and in the recent tri-nations U19 ODI tournament featuring England and Sri Lanka in Bangladesh, he started the first 3 matches, but was then dropped, featuring in only 2 of the remaining matches. He must find his form with the bat to ensure that he is not just a squad player by the time Bangladesh arrives in Sri Lanka for the U19 World Cup.
Chris Oliver January 2006
Mosaddek Hossain, who comes from a family of cricketers, snuck up on Bangladesh cricket's consciousness during the 2013 Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League, helping Abahani Limited stay afloat in a disastrous campaign. He struck a century and three fifties, before having to head to the Bangladesh Under-19 training camp ahead of the 2014 World Cup in the UAE. The opportunity to get out of age-group cricket quite early proved to be an important milestone in his development.
His first-class debut in the 2013-14 season wasn't memorable: he got a pair against Khulna in Cox's Bazar. But in the following season, he struck 250 and 282, his first two hundred-plus scores in first-class cricket. He added another double-hundred in 2015. A Twenty20 International debut followed in January 2016, but it was a forgettable one against Zimbabwe. By then it was clear that he wouldn't be in coach Chandika Hathurusingha's 2016 World T20 plans. Read more
Mohammad Shahid is one of several medium-pacers whose steady growth in Bangladesh's domestic cricket was rewarded by an international call-up within a few years. Shahid bowls off a long run-up, generating speeds up to 135kmph with a strong rock-back action.
Born in Narayanganj next to the Shitalakhya River, Shahid picked up his cricket in his teens before steadily going up the Dhaka league system with his sturdy pace bowling. He came into attention through some performances in the Dhaka Premier League and made his first-class debut in the 2011-12 season when he took 15 wickets at a bowling average of 26.06 in five matches.
The following season didn't go too well as he took just five wickets in five games but it got better in the next two seasons 2013-14 and 2014-15, when he took 18 wickets each. The second lot of 18 wickets was in addition to the 21 List A wickets he took for Legends of Rupganj in the DPL. Read more
Abu Hider earned early recognition in his cricket career when he took a nine-wicket haul in an Under-19 ACC Trophy one-day game against newcomers Qatar in 2012.
Hider was born and brought up in Netrokona, a small town 168 km to the north of the capital Dhaka. He is one of the very few professional cricketers to hail from that part of the country, so he had done well enough to make it to the age-group sides. However, the next step became arduous. He didn't have a regular place in the Dhaka Division, so when he was picked by Comilla Victorians for the 2015 Bangladesh Premier League, nobody really recognised him.
But 22 wickets in his first outing in the BPL in 2015 put him on the map. Hider started off the haul with Kumar Sangakkara's wicket and went on to remove the likes of Mahmudullah and Soumya Sarkar during this breakthrough performance. His pace and yorkers were quite noticeable, drawing the attention of the selectors who picked for three T20 tournaments at the start of 2016. Read more
A right-handed batsman and wicketkeeper, Jahurul Islam was drafted into the Bangladesh Test squad during the home series against England in 2010 following Raqibul Hasan's shock retirement. A national call-up was anyway on the cards, after he topped the overall run charts in the first-class National Cricket League with 965 runs at 68.92 for Rajshahi Division and helped them to the 2009-10 title. In his Test debut in Mirpur, he began inauspiciously with a duck but followed it up with 43. Jahurul entered the first-class scene in 2002-03 and was once a part of the Bangladesh Academy.Read more
Nadif Chowdhury was just 19 when he made his first appearance in Bangladesh colours, in their first Twenty20 match, against Zimbabwe in November 2006. Bangladesh won the match but Nadif did not make much of an impact, hitting just 10. A compact right-handed middle-order batsman who also bowls left-arm orthodox, Nadif went back to the domestic circuit and was part of the Bangladesh Cricket Board Academy side that played England A in February 2007. A decent run with Barisal Division and the Under-19s earned him a spot in the Bangladesh side for the Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa.Read more
Saqlain Sajib waited nine years for his shot at the highest level but when it came, the proud day turned out to be a nightmare. He conceded 40 runs in the 3.3 overs he bowled against Australia in his only international game, during the 2016 World T20. His selection drew flak as he had just arrived in Bangalore that morning after being flown in as Arafat Sunny's replacement.Read more
Noor Hossain is a legspinner and a useful lower-order batsman. His most memorable performance to date is his 65 at No.8 against Zimbabwe Under-19 in a one-dayer in November 2009 to help Bangladesh win by one wicket. His idol is Shane Warne. He was included in the Bangladesh squad for the 2010 U-19 World Cup in New Zealand.Read more