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Ravi Bishnoi, a look into India’s T20I future

Last updated on 16 Feb 2022 | 06:20 PM
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Ravi Bishnoi, a look into India’s T20I future

Ravi Bishnoi’s debut puts India’s bowling future into perfect perspective

With Avesh Khan still on the bench, there were calls for the inclusion of the Indore pacer, who in the one full season of IPL had shown enough to make a strong case. But Bhuvneshwar Kumar was paired alongside Harshal Patel and Deepak Chahar, with Venkatesh Iyer as the fourth-pace option. 

In the trio, India not only solved one of Men in Blue’s perennial enemy – powerplay wickets and death overs. But what remained unsolved throughout India’s T20 World Cup display was wickets in the middle-overs, in specific from spinners. On Wednesday, Rohit Sharma put a foot into India’s future, handing a debut to the 21-year-old leg spinner, Ravi Bishnoi. 

“Bishnoi is a very talented guy which is why we drafted him into the squad straightaway. We see something different in him. He's got lot of variations and skillset with him,” Rohit reasoned it out. 

Bishnoi’s journey to the Indian team is well documented, be it the journey, the sacrifices on the path and as most other players in the country, he beat all odds to stand out. But what really sets players apart in the country is attitude. 

Throughout the journey, the 21-year-old remained unaffected by the pressure: remaining calm and composed at all times. He became the first player from the 2020 U-19 batch to make it to the big level amidst competition at the highest level. 

In the 2021 edition of the T20 World Cup, Indian spinners picked up just 13 wickets and on top of that, took 20.3 balls before striking for the second time. After the T20 World Cup, they tried Axar Patel in a supporting role, which was successful but with an eye towards the World Cup Down Under, India found the perfect supporting actor: Bishnoi. 


“We have to prepare ourselves with one eye on Australia. We have to keep ticking the boxes. They are going to challenge us,” said Rohit at the toss, signaling that Bishnoi’s selection was towards the larger cause.

So, what made him stand out? Two years in a row, the young leg-spinner stood out when the rest of his teammates at Punjab Kings failed. As a bowler, he not just threatened to take games away from the opposition but understood his game to perfection. 

And in those two seasons, Bishnoi features in the top five Indian spinners in the country. In comparison to the other four spinners (since IPL 2020), the young leggie has played at least three games less. All of this while being the lead spinner for a franchise that was consistently on the receiving end of batting barrages. 

“[Bishnoi] has a lot of heart. He has a lot of fight in him. Every time I throw the ball to him, he wants to get in the fight,” Punjab Kings’ skipper KL Rahul spoke about the leg-spinner in IPL 2020. 

In his short IPL career, he’s dismissed Suryakumar Yadav twice, Rahul Tripathi, Jonny Bairstow and David Warner once amongst others. All of this while not having started the 2021 season for Punjab Kings.

"I know Bishnoi played all the games last season. When he joined us this season, I thought he was not the same bowler that we had seen last year,” Punjab Kings’ head coach Anil Kumble had cleared during IPL 2021. 

Bishnoi learnt. 


21 of Bishnoi’s 24 IPL wickets have been googlies, averaging just 16.6. On Wednesday, West Indies learnt it the hard way, when the leg-spinner was running chaos in Kolkata. Even the southpaw Nicholas Pooran found it tough to tackle the 21-year-old leg-spinner. 

Bowling in tandem with Yuzvendra Chahal, Bishnoi was the perfect supporting spinner, one that not just brought the economy rate down but one that picked up wickets in regular intervals. With a perpendicular angle of release, the leg-spinner extracts so much bounce and turn even on lifeless wickets. 

His second over on T20I debut emphasizes what he brings to the table: intelligence partnered with street-smart attitude. Against Roston Chase, who was evidently struggling against googly, Bishnoi delivered the perfect googly increasing his pace, catching the right-hander right in front before sending Rovman Powell back. 

“I was just trying to bowl stump to stump and not give them room because they have the power to clear the boundary,” Bishnoi stated mid-innings, showing how at just 21, he understands the game at a higher level, bowling away from the hitting arc of both right and left-handed batters. 

22 of his 24 deliveries at the Eden Gardens were googlies, out of which 16 were dots. In just one game, the connection between the two leg-spinners was evidently visible, who in tandem made Rohit’s life easy. The Indian spin attack, averaged just 17, in comparison to Windies’ 23.7. 

“He can bowl at any stage and it gives us a lot of options to rotate the other bowlers. Very happy with his first game for India and he's got a bright future and it's just about us now on how we use him,” the Indian skipper added. 

Having learnt his trade from Kumble himself, the trajectory for the leg-spinner is upwards. While there is still an evident worry with his leg-spin, the fact that he is just 21, will breathe a new life in Indian cricket. 

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