Cricket Prediction is fun.
2021 has been a tough year. We saw cricketers struggling to adapt to bio-bubble culture and boards finding it hard to manage fixtures. Thanks to the decline in the Covid-19 scenarios around the globe, it’s time we will start seeing regular cricket matches as per the schedules. Cricket will also get back its charm with the crowd allowed to fill in the stadiums.
Now before moving on to 2022, it is important we look back on the batters who outranked others in the preceding year; that’s 2021.
To point out a few, Joe Root, Rishabh Pant, & Rohit Sharma had a great Test year.
Joe Root’s return to form in the longer format even sees him joining the ranks of the limited-overs team for a Series. Rohit, to me, is the find of the year in Tests. We know how good he is in ODIs over the years, but in whites, he made sure he fits there too. Now we can’t imagine an Indian test team without the opener Rohit. Rishabh Pant carried on his form from last year’s Australian tour and was sensational during England’s travel to India in early 2021. We also saw the likes of DImuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka), Fawad Alam (Pakistan), and Kyle Mayers (West Indies), showcasing their brilliance in different parts of the year.
In ODIs, teams like Ireland, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh played the most, whereas the biggies stuck to the shortest format. Paul Stirling of Ireland had a good year altogether, and Janneman Malan stood out with his average around 98. Notable innings were Fakhar Zaman’s 193 against South Africa and Jaskaran Malhotra’s (USA) 173 against PNG. Malhotra’s score was the highest by any batsman while batting as No.5 in ODI.
It was the year of T20, to be honest. We saw the biggies contesting many times in the format thanks to the T20 World Cup, in which Australia has crowned the champions. Pakistani opening duo Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam took charge and ended as the best T20 players of the year statistically. They both achieved a landmark which no other batter has achieved before in the format. Other notable batters are the World Cup winner Mitchell Marsh and England’s Jos Buttler.
Getting back to the predictions, here are a few prime aspects on which this prediction is based upon:
- The Current form
- Team’s trust in them
- The opportunities that await
Finally, few disclaimers:
- This is not a format-wise prediction. I am predicting players who will have a good year in general, not particular to any format.
- I am not including players like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Joe Root, Babar Azam, Steve Smith, or Kane Williamson. These players have been brilliant over the years, and adding them here will ruin the fun.
- Finally, I am not predicting that the players who missed out on this list will not perform. These are the players I forecast will create more impact in the year 2022.
Let’s get into the fun part, the predictions!
It is just the beginning for Charith Asalanka in international waters, but he has given us a glimpse of what is coming. He, to me, has been one of the leading run-scorer for his team in the last five months. He gathered 231 runs in the recently ended T20 World cup at an average of 46.20.
The Sri Lankan left-hander was named second in the top five impact players in the T20 World Cup 2021 by CricInfo. His strike rate was the best among the top twenty run-getters in the tournament, making him stand out against the other toppers. His innings of 80-not out against Bangladesh in the World Cup game shown us his caliber, and he is definitely the one to look out for in the next year, where we will see more T20 games and yet another World Cup.
It is obvious that you see his name here. Not just 2022, KL Rahul might be the player to look for in the next 10 years. His shot-making skills and the ability to perform in the toughest of conditions make him an easy choice. When we listed the top five best innings of KL Rahul across formats, it all came against the top teams and in difficult batting conditions.
Even though India frustratingly exited the World Cup, KL Rahul sparkled in the last three games they finished with. With IPL 2022 teams waiting for him with open hands, the Indian opener will likely see one of his best years in the coming year.
It was a close call between David Warner and Mitchell Marsh. But considering the Australian opener’s longevity in the game and the confidence level he is carrying now, I go with Warner. Mitchell’s injury-prone body also played a part in my decision. The Man of the Tournament in the 2021 World Cup showcased a much-needed performance (throughout the tourney) he needs behind him when his team is approaching an important year.
Australia will have the Ashes to start the year, challenging tours to Pakistan and Sri Lanka, a T20 World Cup at home, and the visit of India to end the year with. It is a big year for Australia, and so it is for David Warner. And, I, without doubt, believes he is the man for the yellow jersey in all format!
This could be shocking for you. With the likes of Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow in the England squad, Malan stands out with his determination and the ability to play adaptive cricket. Malan, to me, is the typical English brand cricketer who can go a long way, contributing to the team in all possible formats. With the limited-overs setup of England known for its aggressive brand of cricket, Malan will play the much-needed anchor in the middle. He is what Joe Root was expected to be in their white-ball squad.
In Tests, the format which suits him naturally, he grabbed the spot he was given in the India Tests with a brilliant 70 against top-quality bowling. The 2nd ranked T20 batsman is the player to watch out for in the coming years, and I suspect him to see multiple heights in 2022.
It is very underrated what Aiden Markram did for South Africa in recent months. Even in IPL, his ability to play quality cricket was apparent. As an opener converted to a middle-order batsman, Markram is a special player who can extend his stay in the crease to play long innings and play an excellent range of cricket shots.
As a player who has impressed the likes of Virat Kohli with his brand and style of cricket, I suspect the good times of Markram are almost here, and he is my South African player to look out for in the coming year.
It fascinates me looking at the batting supremacies every team has at this point and for the future. If you take South Africa, I have to pick Markram ahead of Janneman Malan and Rassie van der Dusser – two enthralling talents. And then, there is enormously talented Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan, whom I have to leave out. India has the likes of Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer representing them. Najibullah Zadran is another player who impressed a lot.
Talents are in abundance but what will stand out is their ability to strike home runs in tougher conditions and their ability to adapt to different formats. Most importantly, the execution part. Skill adds to nothing when you don’t execute to perfection in this competitive world.
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