World Cup 2023 Breakthrough Stars: Best Debutants XI – Crafting Legends from the Newcomers

ICC Cricket World Cup 2023: Debutants Best Playing XI.
ICC Cricket World Cup 2023: Debutants Best Playing XI. Image Source: ICC Twitter

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 not only showcased the brilliance of established stars but also provided a platform for emerging talents to make their mark. Cricadium takes a closer look at the Best Debutants XI, celebrating the breakthrough performances that defined the tournament and left cricket fans in awe.

  1. Shubman Gill (India)

Shubman Gill, the pinnacle of the Indian top order, perfectly complimented Indian skipper Rohit Sharma at the top of the order. While Rohit blasted the bowlers from one end, Gill held down the fort and then pounced upon the bowlers when he saw his opportunity. 

Shubman had to miss out on the first two games of the Indian team owing to Dengue. However, once he returned, he made his presence felt. Opening the batting for the Indian team, the young right-hander scored 354 runs in 9 games and played a huge role in taking India to the final. Throughout the tournament, Shubman averaged 44.25, coupled with a strike rate of 106.94. 

  1. Rachin Ravindra (New Zealand) 

Rachin Ravindra was probably the find of the tournament, not just for New Zealand but for cricket as a sport. Ravindra, 23, struck his third World Cup hundred during the match against Pakistan on November 4. With this, he broke the record of Tendulkar, who had the most centuries to his name before attaining the age of 24. Ravindra 

The left-handed opener broke several other records including Jonny Bairstow’s record for most runs in a debut World Cup edition as well as Sachin Tendulkar’s record of most runs in a World Cup edition before the age of 25. What made Rachin’s excursion even more special was the fact that he filled in for Williamson at 3 when the latter was out injured. Ravindra eventually finished the tournament as the 4th highest run-getter, with 578 runs from 10 games at an impressive average of 64.22. Not only that, Ravindra also managed to pick up 5 wickets, adding yet another feather to his cap. 

  1. Sadeera Samarawickrama (Sri Lanka) 

Sadeera Samarawickrama was the glue that held the Sri Lankan middle order together during the World Cup 2023. Whenever the Sri Lankan team needed, the crafty left-hander delivered. In just 32 matches, the 28-year-old has established himself as one of Sri Lanka’s most dependable players. 

Batting at number 4, Samarawickrama scored 373 runs in 9 games, which included a couple of fifties and a hundred. He averaged 53.29 throughout the tournament and his 108 against Pakistan was probably the best innings by a Sri Lankan batter in World Cup 2023. However, even Samarawickrama’s heroics could not save Sri Lanka from doom as they finished 9th in the points table. 

  1. Shreyas Iyer (India) 

After a rocky start, Shreyas Iyer redeemed himself in the second half of the tournament, finishing as the 7th-highest run-getter. Iyer’s World Cup 2023 journey started with a 3-ball duck against the Aussies and in the first 6 games, the right-hander had only scored 134 runs at an average of 33.5. Despite that, the Indian team management did not give up on the 28-year-old.

After this, Shreyas Iyer really turned the cards in his favour, registering 2 fifties and 2 hundreds in the next 2 games, all at a blistering strike rate. Shreyas Iyer finished the tournament with 530 runs at an average of 66.25, being one of the strongest number 4s in the tournament. Shreyas’ excursion consisted of 37 fours and 24 sixes, a testament to his explosive nature. 

  1. Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper) (Pakistan) 

Even though Pakistan had a rather disappointing campaign, one good that came out for them was Mohammad Rizwan’s batting. Rizwan was the standout performer for Pakistan, scoring 395 runs in 9 games at an average of 65.83. This included a blistering, match-winning knock of 131 not out against Sri Lanka while chasing a mammoth target of 345. 

Not just with the bat, Rizwan was stellar with the gloves as well as he kept the wickets for Pakistan. Rizwan had 11 catches throughout the tournament and was amongst the best Pakistani fielders. Rizwan scored a fifty, a hundred and a couple of fifties as he finished as Pakistan’s best batter in the tournament. 

  1. Heinrich Klaasen (South Africa) 

Heinrich Klaasen was one of the most explosive batters of World Cup 2023. Batting at Number 5 for South Africa, Klaasen played a few really important knocks for them, including a gritty 47 in the semi-final against Australia. However, despite his best of efforts, South Africa succumbed to Australia, who eventually went on to become the World Champions. 

The 32-year-old played one of the best innings of his life when he smashed a 67-ball 109 against the defending champions England, eventually propelling South Africa to a total of 399. The wicketkeeper batter finished the tournament with 373 runs to his name, at an average of 41.44, and also took 9 catches. 

  1. Marco Jansen (South Africa) 

Marco Jansen proved to be a handy bowling all-rounder for South Africa, claiming crucial wickets and scoring quick runs batting lower down the order. With his left-arm pace, Jansen scalped 17 wickets in World Cup 2023, the second most by a South African bowler, after Gerald Coetzee. He finished as the tournament’s 7th leading wicket-taker, with an economy rate of 6.5. 

Even with the bat, Jansen played a couple of really good innings, given the limited number of chances he got. In 8 innings, Jansen scored 157 runs, staying not out in 3 of them. His best was a blistering 75 not out against defending champions England, which came off of just 42 balls. Jansen emerged as one of the better Number 7s in the tournament, and it seemed he liked doing his job. 

  1. Bas de Leede (Netherlands) 

Bas de Leede faced challenges with the bat, reflecting a batting average of 15, suggesting a struggle in that department. However, amidst this challenge, his noteworthy performance in bowling added a positive dimension to his overall contribution during the specified time frame. De Leede managed to secure 16 wickets, showcasing his proficiency with the ball. 

This bowling achievement provides a silver lining to his cricketing statistics, highlighting his ability to make an impact on the game from a different perspective. While batting might have posed challenges for de Leede, his bowling prowess demonstrates a valuable dual skill set, contributing significantly to his team’s efforts during the specified period.

  1. Keshav Maharaj (South Africa) 

Keshav Maharaj was yet another South African who tilted several heads with his bowling. Coming into the World Cup, Maharaj had to play a huge role for his team given the spin-friendly condition in India, and the left-arm orthodox spinner did not fail to deliver. In 10 games, the Proteas spinner grabbed 15 wickets, and that too at an impressive economy rate of 4.1, playing a huge role in South Africa’s journey to the Semi-Final.

His best of 4/46 came at Pune as South Africa completely wiped off New Zealand in a league game, registering a win by 190 runs. Maharaj’s impact was huge, not just on the field, but also off the field as he constantly helped raise the morale of the team. He also played an important knock against the Netherlands in South Africa’s second league match. 

  1. Gerald Coetzee (South Africa) 

Gerald Coetzee made an impactful debut in the World Cup 2023, showcasing his prowess with the ball. Despite being a last-minute pick to replace the injured Anrich Nortje, Coetzee’s bowling performance stood out as a highlight of his debut campaign. With eight matches under his belt, he bowled a total of 381 deliveries, securing an impressive 20 wickets at an average of 19.80.

His economy rate of 6.23 and a strike rate of 19.05 further underscored his effectiveness as a bowler. Coetzee’s ability to consistently trouble batsmen and pick up crucial wickets marked him as a promising debutant in the World Cup, adding a positive chapter to South Africa’s campaign. It wasn’t easy to step into the shoes of Anrich Nortje, but the Proteas pacer made his selection count. 

  1. Dilshan Madushanka (Sri Lanka) 

Dilshan Madusanka emerged as a revelation in his debut World Cup appearance, making a significant impact with his left-arm pace. The Sri Lankan speedster’s debut was highlighted by his ability to strike early and dismantle opposition batting line-ups. In the nine matches he played, Madusanka bowled 470 deliveries, claiming a notable 21 wickets at an average of 25.00.

His standout performance came in a crucial match against India, where he recorded figures of 5/80. With an economy rate of 6.70 and a spirited approach, Madusanka’s debut showcased his potential as a potent force in Sri Lanka’s bowling arsenal.

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