The inscription in Sanskrit on the IPL trophy means, “where talent meets opportunity”. Over the years, the league has justified the message proving to be a premier breeding ground for the Indian national team. The upcoming season is no different. We look at five such uncapped Indian youngsters who are all set to feature in this year’s IPL with an air of excitement hovering around them:
A left-handed top-order batsman, Yashasvi Jaiswal has lived the rags to riches story to turn his life around. Coming to Mumbai from a district in Uttar Pradesh with the sole aim of becoming a cricketer, he sold panipuris to survive through his initial days. Having gone through tough times, he is now earmarked for great things in the future.
Journey so far: 18 years old, Jaiswal emerged as the highest run-scorer for Mumbai in his maiden Vijay Hazare Trophy season last year. He hammered 564 runs in six games at an average of 112.8. Jaiswal struck three hundreds, the last of which was 203 against Jharkhand making him the youngest to score a double hundred in List-A cricket. He backed up his blockbuster season by scoring 400 runs in the 2020 U19 World Cup - highest in the tournament. Jaiswal also showed maturity playing crunch knocks and was adjudged the Player of the Tournament.
Opportunities: Rajasthan Royals have a number of options to frame their top-order and Jaiswal may or may not be in their plans to begin the season straightaway. However, the franchise spent INR 2.4 crore to acquire him - 12 times his base price - and knowing their reputation of encouraging young talent, Jaiswal will certainly be seen plying his trade in this IPL at some point.
(Image Courtesy: BCCI)
Devdutt Padikkal is an exciting young talent from Karnataka with all the shots in his repertoire. Aged 20, he has stood out in a Karnataka batting line-up full of stalwarts including KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Manish Pandey and Karun Nair. His aggressive style of batsmanship that comes naturally makes him a tailor-made opener for the shorter formats of the game.
Journey so far: Aged only 19 at the time of his List-A debut last year, Padikkal topped the run-charts in the Vijay Hazare Trophy scoring 609 runs in 11 games with two hundreds (average 67.7, strike-rate 81.1). He was relentless in the subsequent Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy racking up 580 runs - again the most in the season - striking at 175.8. Karnataka won both the tournaments and Padikkkal was the first batsman to complete 1,000 runs in the domestic season across all formats.
Opportunities: Padikkal was a part of Royal Challengers Bangalore’s squad in the 2019 season but couldn’t find a place in the XI. However, a grand domestic season emerging as the lynchpin of Karnataka’s batting arsenal strengthens his chances to debut in the 2020 IPL. RCB’s Director of Cricket Mike Hesson, praised the southpaw for his consistency in domestic cricket. RCB have a lot of options at the top of their order but it won’t be a surprise if Padikkal turns out to be a front-runner.
A budding legspinner, Ravi Bishnoi hails from Rajasthan. He belongs to the traditional category of wristspinners who believe in flighting the ball with immaculate control. Having recently started his career (only six List-A games and as many T20s), Bishnoi has shown variations with his mean googlies often taking centrestage.
Journey so far: Bishnoi shone in the 2020 U19 World Cup as the leading wicket-taker in the tournament. He snaffled 17 wickets at only 10.6 runs apiece. An economy of 3.5 runs per over speaks about his control. His googlies remained undeciphered throughout the tournament. He almost turned the final in India’s favour with figures of four for 30 in his 10 overs underlining his calibre to bowl in tough situations.
Opportunities: T20 sides nowadays are incomplete without a legspinner. Bishnoi was signed by Kings XI Punjab at INR 2 crore after an intense bidding war with Mumbai which raised his paycheque to 10 times his base price. With Murugan Ashwin the only other wristspin option in the squad, Bishnoi will certainly be seen in action during the 2020 IPL.
An 18-year-old youngster who grew fond of hitting sixes while growing up, Abdul Samad is a rising star from Jammu & Kashmir. In a brief career to date, he has impressed the men who matter - the then J&K coach Milap Mewada and former Indian cricketer, Irfan Pathan during his stint with the side. A versatile batsman, he has batted at all positions from one to six. In addition, he can bowl handy legspin pitting him as an X-factor for any T20 side.
Journey so far: Kicking off his domestic cricket career last year, Samad struck 592 runs in his maiden Ranji Trophy season averaging 39.5. He amassed two hundreds and three fifties but the most astonishing stat was his strike-rate of 113 vouching for his ability to send the ball afar on a consistent basis. A few months earlier, he notched up 237 runs striking at 125.4 in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. His strike-rate was the highest for J&K in the season. Samad smashed 68 off 53 balls in a game against Gujarat which included seven sixes and no fours. That knock earned him trials with three IPL sides before the auction for the 2020 season. In 11 T20s so far, he has averaged 40 at a strike rate of 136.4 to score 240 runs.
Opportunities: Sunrisers Hyderabad pouched him at INR 20 lakh in the auction in their search for a finisher. In their current setup, the side is heavily reliant on their overseas openers - David Warner and Jonny Bairstow - with the middle-order responsibilities to be distributed amongst the Indian contingent of the group. Given his love towards hitting sixes, Samad could be an ideal foil to fill the number six spot and partner Mohammad Nabi in giving a smashing finish to their innings.
Kamlesh Nagarkoti has been around IPL since 2018 but is yet to play a game owing to his misfortune with injuries. Hailing from Rajasthan, Nagarkoti can clock 140kph consistently without compromising on his control or the duration of his spells. In addition, he is regarded as a gun fielder and a handy lower-order batsman.
Journey so far: Nagarkoti was pivotal in India’s title win in the 2018 U19 World Cup. As the leader of the pace attack, he grabbed nine scalps in six games averaging only 16.3 runs per wicket. His impact went beyond the tournament as Nagarkoti left an impression on everyone who saw him in the competition. Injuries though have kept him away from professional cricket ever since.
Opportunities: In the fickle market of IPL, Nagarkoti has been retained by Kolkata Knight Riders for the third season in a row despite not playing any games. This is a good measure of the faith he has earned with the side by virtue of his talent. Now fit ahead of the 2020 season, KKR might unleash him without any further delay.