Well, there's alot of people around here, and I figure that some of you must be involved in youth cricket, so I was wondering if anyone could talk about any good youth (U-19, or so) talent they've seen around, or heard of.
One guy I played against a few weeks ago was a Tauranga High batsman - Cain Williams. I'm not too sure of the spelling of his first name, but you get the idea. But seriously, this guy is phenomenal. I played against him a few years ago, and managed to pick him up early (that's the key with all batsmen, I s'pose) so I didn't really see his ability much. This time I didn't manage to get him early.
First ball, I bowled a great ball imo - on the off stump and swinging away - basically what you're taught to bowl as a FM bowler. I thought I might have got him again. But, instead, he went forward, and with a crack hit it on the up with a cover drive. Four. A hell of a shot. Next couple of deliveries, he left them. Then, I bowled a shorter one on middle. It wasn't short at all - about his waist height. He effortlessly pulled the ball wide of mid-on for four - just pivoted on one foot and creamed it. So, I tried to be a bit more careful, and managed to see off the next 2 deliveries.
Later on, he had progressed to 30 - odd and they had pretty much won the game. I was bowling what turned out to be the final over. First delivery, crack, a terrific on drive for four. Second ball, crack, another drive for four. With both of those, he didn't hit them hard - just timed them well and sent the ball whistling. With the third ball, it was a yorker on off. He simply shuffled around to offstump, and flicked it off his legs for six, to bring up his fifty and seal the match. It was some batting.
This guy is by far the best batsman I've ever seen at youth level, and I've been playing for more than 6 years now. I talked with my coach about him, and it turns out that my coach had seen him play before. He's been around youth cricket for upwards of two decades now, and he says that he's the best batsman he's seen in NZ since Martin Crowe. He also says he'll bet money that he'll be playing in the 2011 world cup. He also played against the Indian U-19s and scored runs against them as well. Ian smith has also given him praise IIRC. He was getting centuries by the time he was 13. Quite incredible, no?
And he's only 16.