Along with the global superstars and legends of the game that feature in The Abu Dhabi T10, there are a number of talented youngsters that have gained the trust of team owners. These young talents have been making a name for themselves in their national and international circuits and look destined to shine at The Abu Dhabi T10 too.
Here’s a look at some of the brightest young stars that are part of the upcoming season.
Noor Ahmad (bowler, Bangla Tigers)
Noor Ahmad, the crafty left-arm wrist-spinner from Afghanistan, has been taking giant strides in the sport since a very young age. At 14, Noor Ahmad notched 11 wickets for the Mis-e Ainak in the Shpageeza Cricket League – the domestic T20 league of Afghanistan – and was named Emerging Player of the Tournament. On the back of impressive performances at the domestic level, the then 14-year-old was picked for the Afghanistan youth team at the 2020 Under-19 World Cup. The teenager bowled with aplomb at the Youth World Cup, claiming seven wickets and even mankading a batsman. Along with his potent leg spin, Noor Ahmad has a mean googly as the ace up his sleeve. The Bangla Tigers, in this season, are certain to reap the dividends of signing this young sensation.
Dhananjaya Lakshan (all-rounder, Northern Warriors)
Although regarded as a batting all-rounder, Dhananjaya Lakshan has strong dual abilities that make him a complete package. He has the skills and temperament of a seasoned cricketer that were clearly visible in the recently concluded Lanka Premier League, where he finished as the second-highest wicket-taker. Dhananjaya Lakshan troubled the batsmen with an array of variations, which include inswingers, yorkers, and slower ones, to name a few, and also added crucial runs while batting lower down the order. Picked by the Northern Warriors, he will provide support with both the willow and the leather in the fourth edition of The Abu Dhabi T10.
Vriitya Aravind (wicketkeeper-batsman, Pune Devils)
The rising star of the UAE’s fast-improving cricket scene, Vriitya Aravind, has been picked up by the Pune Devils in the emerging category for the fourth edition of The Abu Dhabi T10. The Chennai-born wicketkeeper-batsman, who opens the batting for the UAE at the highest level, has been conquering bowlers in the country’s domestic circuit, especially in the shorter formats.
Representing the ECB Blues, Vriitya Aravind was the second-highest run-scorer in the Emirates D20 and D10 tournaments. In the shortest format, the young lad has scored 358 runs at an average of 40 and a strike rate of a mind-boggling 239.
Kushal Malla (batsman, Team Abu Dhabi)
While most 16-year-olds would be studying hard for better grades at their school, Kushal Malla is helping his country climb the ranks with his impressive strokeplay. At the raw age of 15 years and 340 days, the teenager made a dream One Day International debut for Nepal by breaking the record for the youngest cricketer to score a half-century in international cricket. He has been making waves in national tournaments too. As a middle-order batsman, the Nepalese youngster can add stability to Team Abu Dhabi this season, and moreover, Kushal Malla can also roll his arm over as a handy left-arm spinner.
Leonardo Julien (wicketkeeper-batsman, Team Abu Dhabi)
Joining Kushal Malla at Team Abu Dhabi will be the 19-year-old West Indian wicket-keeper Leonardo Julien, who is swiftly climbing the ranks of West Indies’ thriving domestic setup. A year ago, he scored an all-important 83 in the finals to help the West Indies Emerging Team lift their first Super50 Cup – the domestic 50-over competition in the Caribbean. In the 2020 Under-19 World Cup, Leonardo Julien finished as the best wicket-keeper of the tournament, with nine dismissals in six innings. He is one of the brightest prospects to transition into the senior team as a wicket-keeper in the coming years.