Three of the Proteas’ brightest young stars have headlined Wisden’s Best Young Players in the World list.
In the August 2018 issue of Wisden Cricket Monthly, the editors profile the 50 Best Young Players in the World, and South Africa’s awesome array of talent took top billing.
Powerhouse Lungi Ngidi took ninth spot as Wisden dubbed him ‘the next Joel Garner’, which is heady praise indeed.
‘There’s a lot to like about Lungi Ngidi: a smile that seems to stretch beyond the broad shoulders that bookend his 6ft 4in frame, a bowling action that hasn’t had its smoothness scratched by all that muscle, and a match haul of 7-90 on Test debut against India at Centurion in January. Not much is bigger than Ngidi,’ wrote Telford Vice.
Batting superstar Aiden Markram took third spot, an incredible rating for a player so new to Test cricket, but one that he owns completely after an amazing debut season against India and Australia.
‘For those who witnessed Markram’s century at the Wanderers, it came close to the mark [that he was the first post-AB de Villiers genius]. Markram’s 152 was flecked with rare brilliance, with one cover-drive off [Nathan] Lyon late in his innings bearing the mark of a once-in-a-generation talent,’ wrote Vice.
Afghanistan’s 20-year-old Rashin Khan took second place as ‘the most valuable bowler in the IPL’, but first place was never in doubt. Kagiso Rabada took the honour in the easiest selection decision of the century.
‘He’s just incredible, a machine really, and fantastic to watch,’ wrote former Proteas legendary paceman Allan Donald. ‘Kagiso is well on his way to becoming South Africa’s all-time greatest fast bowler. Going at the rate he is, it’s a case of when rather than if he becomes our country’s leading Test wicket-taker and it will be a proud moment for me seeing this young man do that, a magnificent achievement for him and an inspiration for all young black cricketers in South Africa.’
Further down the rankings, the impressive Andile Phehlukwayo came in at 28th spot, and the magazine quoted former Proteas seamer Roger Telemachus in their praise for ‘the next Lance Klusener’.
‘I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a young man so cool under pressure. We underestimate being strong in the mind. Not everyone has that gift,’ Telemachus said about Phehlukwayo, who is on course to be a leading light in the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
The magazine’s criteria were that each player had to be aged 23 or under on 1 August 2018, and only male cricketers were profiled. Their next issue will profile the leading young female cricketers.
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