Breakthrough cricket stars: Mayank Agarwal, Marnus Labuschagne and others

Cricket enjoyed one of its most memorable years in 2019 as England ended their World Cup agony on home soil while a resurgent Australia retained the Ashes urn on enemy territory.

Big names such as Steve Smith and Ben Stokes shone bright, however, there were several other unheralded players for whom 2019-20 turned out to be a breakthrough season.

With their notable performances over the course of the year, these players managed to propel themselves into the limelight usually been reserved for the superstars. When the sport does ultimately resume, they will all be itching to continue the good work they have shown recently.

Here, we look at eight of the biggest breakthrough stars over the last year or so.

Mayank Agarwal (India)

After piling on the runs for Karnataka in domestic cricket, Agarwal was finally rewarded for his perseverance with a Boxing Day Test debut against Australia at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

The opening batsman impressed with two half centuries in three innings. The best, though, was yet to come from Agarwal who had a rather disappointing tour of the West Indies subsequently.

As India finished the year with home clashes against South Africa and Bangladesh, Agarwal stepped up the class with two double tons and a century. The right-hander’s polished technique and impressive temperament saw him forge a delightful opening partnership with Rohit Sharma as India swept aside the Proteas and Bangladesh in emphatic fashion.

In 2019 alone, Agarwal amassed 754 runs at an average of nearly 69.

Nicholas Pooran (West Indies)


Pooran’s talent was clear to see when he smashed a stunning 143 against Australia in Dubai during the 2014 ICC U19 World Cup.

The left-hander looked destined to scale greater heights in senior cricket before fate took an unruly turn in the following year.

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Divas as moms | Inquirer Entertainment

Dulce (second from left) with older kids David Ezra, Dana and Deejay Cruz

We usually see them looking all glammed up at concerts and in movies and TV shows, but away from the klieg lights and spots, Zsa Zsa Padilla and Dulce are just regular moms who enjoy the company, love and adulation of their children when they’re not wooing or serenading their spellbound fans.

So, don’t be misled by the splashy gowns, glorious hair and the glitzy world they inhabit—in fact, when Zsa Zsa and Dulce were growing up, the so-called Divine Diva and Asia’s Diva, respectively, weren’t as sleek and sophisticated as they look these days. Despite the challenges it presents, Dulce sees the period of isolation as a glass-half-full experience. But the difficulty that comes with “living in isolation’ also has its advantages—something she’d like people to get inspired by.

The singer-actress appreciates the “extended” time to consistently connect with her kids—David Ezra, Deejay, Dana, Jem and Abby—while awaiting the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

“I don’t get bored at home because there are simply too many things to do now that I was too busy to attend to before the lockdown,” she said. “I can do everything at home, except cook (laughs)! Even if I wanted to try, dili ko kahibalo asa magsugod (I wouldn’t know where to start)! So, my younger daughters, Jem and Abby, cook for me (laughs). That’s part of the fun of being a mom—when your kids take care of you.”

Even before the ECQ began in March, Dulce happily told us that she was also able to spend “quality time” with her older kids, Deejay, Dave and Dana, when they decided to embark on a trip to Japan with her, from Jan. 30 to Feb. 5. What made Dulce

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Women’s World Cup star Alex Morgan welcomes daughter

FILE – United States’ Alex Morgan celebrates after scoring her side’s second goal during the Women’s World Cup semifinal soccer match between England and the United States, at the Stade de Lyon, outside Lyon, France, Tuesday, July 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Two-time women’s World Cup winner Alex Morgan and husband Servando Carrasco have welcomed a new player to their team, announcing the birth of daughter Charlie Elena Carrasco on Saturday.

Morgan tweeted that the baby was born on Thursday.

“She made us wait longer than expected, but I should have known she would do it her way and her way only. My super moon baby,” Morgan wrote.

Morgan, 30, was due to give birth in April and said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” earlier in the week that she hoped to give birth within the week.

Morgan, who also won Olympic gold with the US women’s team, announced that she was pregnant in October, when she said she still intended to play for the USA at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

She did light training with the national team in February.

But with the Tokyo Games postponed a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Morgan will have even more time to prepare.

Carrasco, 31, played in his ninth MLS season in 2019 with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

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