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ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2017 Debutant of the year nominees: tomorrow people

Spinners of various stripes, a wicketkeeper-batsman and others grace our shortlist

Sreshth Shah
Sreshth Shah
Shadab Khan took 19 wickets last year, among them this one, of Yuvraj Singh in the Champions Trophy final  •  Getty Images

Shadab Khan took 19 wickets last year, among them this one, of Yuvraj Singh in the Champions Trophy final  •  Getty Images

Shadab Khan
Tests: 1 wicket at 145 (1 match)
ODIs: 19 wickets at 25.47 (12 matches)
T20Is: 14 wickets at 16.64 (10 matches)

A product of the T20 game, legspinner Shadab grabbed eyeballs when he took seven wickets for 21 runs in his first two T20Is against West Indies. Both efforts earned him Man-of-the-Match awards, following which he secured a spot in Pakistan's ODI XI as well. The flow of T20I wickets slowed soon after, but he ended the year with an economy of 6.50 and a strike-rate of 15.3 after ten matches. His ODI numbers were slightly less flattering by comparison.
Tom Blundell
Tests: 136 runs at 68, 2 catches (2 Tests)

An old boy of Wellington College, Blundell turned in a breakthrough performance on Test debut, a stone's throw away from his school near the Basin Reserve. Easy on the eye, but gritty in his approach, Blundell did enough in his three games in 2017 to stay in the conversation for regular Test selection. Brought in to replace the injured BJ Watling for the Tests against West Indies, Blundell became the 11th New Zealand Test batsman to make a debut hundred. Farming the strike adroitly with the lower order, he took his team well past 500 with his 107 not out, a score that was too much for the visitors to overhaul, even across two attempts.
Fakhar Zaman
ODIs: 400 runs at 44.44 (9 matches)
T20Is: 130 runs at 110.16 SR (9 matches)

Sometimes you just need one innings, on the year's biggest stage, to embed yourself in the memories of cricket fans all over. Zaman had that moment in the Champions Trophy final, where against India he hit a freewheeling 106-ball 114 to hand his team the title in a Man-of-the-Match performance. That innings was no flash in the pan. Scores of 50 and 57 against Sri Lanka and England, en route to that final had already showed glimpses of Zaman's aggressive batting style before he turned it up to ten on the big day.
Kuldeep Yadav
Tests: 9 wickets at 20.77 (2 matches)
ODIs: 22 wickets at 24.77 (14 matches)
T20Is: 12 wickets at 14.50 SR (8 matches)

For someone who started off as a fast bowler, Yadav's left-arm wristspin has brought him a long way. He was drafted in for the final Test against Australia, and his 4 for 68 in the first innings set up India's eight-wicket win in the series decider. Loopy, drifty, floaty and airy, Yadav's rippers have troubled the world's best, leading to a verbal volley with David Warner. Numbers-wise, Yadav's figures are promising: an average under 25 across all three formats, and more than 40 wickets in 24 innings. His most memorable performance probably was the match-winning hat-trick against Australia in Kolkata, where he became only the second Indian to achieve the feat in ODIs.
Dawid Malan
Tests: 505 runs at 33.66 (9 matches)
T20Is: 78 runs at 177.27 SR (1 match)

Malan, the England left-hander, broke into the international scene in June 2017, when he smashed 78 from 44 balls against South Africa in a T20I in Cardiff, the highest score by an English debutant. The next month, he found himself in England's Test set-up, and played at No. 4 against South Africa with moderate success, showing enough grit to keep his place for the Ashes down under. A determined 56 in the Ashes opener, followed by 140 and 54 in the third Test, in Perth, were the icing on the cake - despite England's horror Ashes.
Aiden Markram
Tests: 380 runs at 95 (3 matches)
ODIs: 66 runs at 66 (1 match)

A technically sound opening batsman with a penchant for classy off-side shots, Markram came into the South Africa Test side following Heino Kuhn's disastrous tour of England. The Test team was desperately looking for a solid partner for Dean Elgar, and Markram was just that man for the second-half of 2017. He made his Test debut against Bangladesh, but was run out after a mix-up on 97. He made amends over his next two Tests, smashing 143 and 125 to end the year with a remarkable average of 95 from four innings. In his only ODI, Markram thumped 66 from 60 balls, as South Africa amassed 369 against Bangladesh at Buffalo Park.
Lungi Ngidi
T20Is: 6 wickets at 7.33 (3 matches)

Ngidi featured in only three T20Is all year, and those were back in January, but in those eight overs the lanky right-arm fast bowler impressed one and all. He did not concede runs at more than 5.50 in any of those three games, and took 4 for 19 in his second match, a low-scoring thriller. A back injury in June sidelined him from South Africa's plans for the tour of England, but the 21-year-old returned to competitive cricket in October.
Mark Stoneman
Tests: 328 runs at 29.81 (7 matches)

The left-hand England opener has impressed in patches, almost as much as he has failed to do so for the rest of his relatively short Test career. A dogged 52 against West Indies at Headingley, in only his second Test, earned him the nod for the Ashes series, and Stoneman showed his class thereafter, scoring at least fifty in each of the tour matches, against WA XI and CA XI, and capping it off with half-centuries in Brisbane and Perth.
Shreyas Iyer
ODIs: 162 runs at 54 (3 matches)
T20Is: 83 runs at 103.75 SR (6 matches)

Iyer is the kind of player you can watch all day. The right-hand middle-order batsman lurked in and around India's squad for much of 2017, but found his place in the XI during the T20Is against New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Iyer showed signs of brilliance in the shortest format, but twenties and thirties did not help his cause much. When offered the No. 3 slot against Sri Lanka in December, Iyer grabbed it with both hands, accumulating a 70-ball 88 and a 63-ball 65 in India's last two ODIs of the year.
ODIs: 147 runs at 73.50 (3 matches)

Nephew of former Pakistan captain and national team selector Inzamam-ul-Haq, Imam came into the Pakistan team amidst a lot of chatter about nepotism. But the left-hand, bespectacled opener shushed all critics in his first outing, with an ODI hundred on debut against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi. He followed that up with an unbeaten 45 in the same series, earning himself a spot in Pakistan's ODI squad for the tour of New Zealand in 2018.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo