Like previous IPL editions, this season of the cash-rich T20 league too has given Indian cricket, or to be precise, world cricket a whole bunch of young cricketers who have the potential to make it big in the coming days and shine at the international stage.
Players like Ravi Bishnoi, Ishan Kishan, Rahul Tewatia, Devdutt Padikkal, T Natarajan, Kartik Tyagi have impressed many in the cricket fraternity with both their skills and ability to handle pressure while playing against the best of cricketers in the Indian Premier League being held in the United Arab Emirates.
Leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi, who ended as the highest wicket-taker in the U-19 World Cup earlier this year with 17 wickets, has been having a dream IPL debut season. He has picked up nine wickets in 10 innings he has bowled so far and has been one of the shining stars of Kings XI Punjab.
His victims include the likes of David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Rishabh Pant, Aaron Finch, Eoin Morgan – batsmen who are considered to be well equipped to tackle spin bowling with ease. Having a bowling style similar to that of head coach and ace leg-spinner Anil Kumble, Bishnoi has been able to keep the batsmen in check, using flippers, top-spinners and googlies to good effect.
Defending champions Mumbai Indians too have found a new batting star in Ishan Kishan. Kishan, who scored a brilliant 99 and almost took his side to clinching an emphatic win over Royal Challengers Bangalore (a match which MI lost in the Super Over), has amassed 193 runs in six innings he has played so far. His strike rate of over 140 has been mighty impressive and he certainly looks to be a bright prospect.
Another youngster who has been catching the limelight in this year’s IPL edition is Devdutt Padikkal. The 20-year-old, who made his IPL debut this year, has been able to make a mark for himself in the batting line-up which has stalwarts like Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Aaron Finch. The left-handed Karnataka batsman has scored 321 runs in 10 games for the Challengers and has contributed in significant fashion towards the team which is currently placed at the second spot in the points table.
For Rajasthan Royals, Rahul Tewatia has been an absolute sensation. Much has been talked about Tewatia since he hit five sixes against Sheldon Cottrell during his match-winning 53-run knock against Kings XI Punjab – an innings which turned him into an overnight star.
While he has scored 222 runs in 10 matches, he has also picked up crucial wickets for the Royals, scalping seven wickets.
SunRisers Hyderabad, too, have been able to find a rising star in left-arm pacer T Natarajan. In absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the 29-year-old from Tamil Nadu has been one of the highlights in this season. So far, he has picked up 11 wickets in nine matches at an economy of 8.46 and has been one of go-to bowlers for David Warner whenever he is need of wickets.
Another young Indian player, who has been able to earn rich praise from former cricketers is pacer Kartik Tyagi. Tyagi, who picked up 11 wickets during India’s run to the final in the U-19 World Cup, has impressed many, especially Ian Bishop, with his raw pace and attitude.
While he has been able to pick up only six wickets in six matches that he has played for the 2008 IPL champions, Kartik has showed glimpses of the talent he possesses and Bishop, during the course of the commentary, has been heard showering rich praise on him.
While his action and run-up has been compared to that of fast bowling legend Brett Lee, it’s his ability to keep his calm and bowl on splendid line and lengths against the likes of Kohli and de Villiers which has forced many former greats to expect something unique from this young Indian talent.