And so the noughties have passed and a new decade dawns. Who will be the new names to shine in 2010 and beyond? An XI of likely stars is presented below, with all players, minus one exception, under 23 and that player (Khawaja) is only four weeks past his 23rd birthday. Some are already establishing themselves in international cricket, others beginning to make their mark in domestic cricket. Look out for them as they could become to the new decade what Ponting, Kallis, Pietersen, Laxman, Flintoff, Gilchrist, McGrath and Warne et al were to the past decade.
1. Adrian Barath (
2. Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Age 21 – Picked mainly on the strength of his superlative 150 not out from 102 balls (including eight sixes) in a Pro 40 match against Worcestershire last summer, which I was fortunate enough to see. The tall right-hander could prove a suitable successor to Marcus Trescothick at the top of the
3. Usman Khawaja (New South Wales), Age 23 –
4. Virat Kohli (India), Age 21 – ODI and first-class averages in excess of 50 and increasingly mature performances for India in the current Tri-Series in Bangladesh suggest that Kohli is at the head of the queue to replace Sachin, Laxman or Dravid when they eventually raise their bat for the last time.
5. Umar Akmal (
6. Mitchell Marsh (
7. Craig Kieswetter (
8. Shakib Al Hasan (
9. Mohammad Aamer (Pakistan), Age 17 – The astonishingly talented Aamer is already an automatic pick for Pakistan in all formats and became the youngest bowler ever to take a five for in test history in the Boxing Day test at the MCG. The left arm quick evokes the great Wasim Akram and will be a serious danger to
10. Wayne Parnell (
11. Kemar Roach (West Indies), Age 21 – The pick of the West Indian seamers in the recent series with Australia where he reassembled Ricky Ponting’s elbow. Roach should help play a key role in the renaissance of the