BY AAKASH KUMAR
New Delhi, Nov 3 (IANS) Like the previous 12 IPL seasons, the present edition too has unearthed a plethora of young Indian cricketers — Devdutt Padikkal, Rahul Tewatia, Ravi Bishnoi, T. Natarajan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Varun Chakravarthy, Arshdeep Singh — who have caught the eye and promised to make it big sooner or later.
Some other youngsters like Kartik Tyagi, Tushar Deshpande, Riyan Parag, Priyam Garg, and Abdul Samad, too impressed in the limited opportunities they got. These players also hold promise and going forward they would carry the rich experience of playing against and with stalwarts in the Indian Premier League in the United Arab Emirates.
Overall, the IPL, in its 13-year history, has never been so closely fought. Every franchise has spent considerable time in evaluating and analysing their squad and all of them boasted excellent performers. Therefore, teams were much more evenly matched with international stars and the ones who showed consistency being part of the squads.
IANS takes a look at some of the finds of IPL 2020:
The 20-year-old Royals Challengers Bangalore (RCB) player has so far scored 472 runs, including five half-centuries, in 14 innings. These runs have come at an impressive strike rate of over 125, including 51 fours and 8 sixes.
“He (Padikkal) has really handled the pressure in IPL well. It is watched world-wide, its fan base and product is huge and he’s caught everyone’s eye. There’s a long career ahead. One thing is for sure that if he focuses on the process, he works on his fitness, he will go a long way,” former India fast bowler Venkatesh Prasad told a leading daily.
Even though Rajasthan Royals finished at the bottom of the points table, they found a new star in Tewatia. 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 that turned him into an overnight star.
While he has scored 255 runs in 11 innings, he also picked up 10 wickets and impressed all with his all-round cricketing abilities.
Leg-spinner Bishnoi, who ended as the highest wicket-taker in the Under-19 World Cup this year with 17 scalps, had a dream IPL debut season. He picked up 12 wickets in 14 innings for Kings XI Punjab and was, without a doubt, one of their shining stars.
Bishnoi’s victims included 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 Punjab’s head coach and ace leg-spinner Anil Kumble, Bishnoi was kept the batsmen in check, using flippers, top-spinners, and googlies to good effect.
SunRisers Hyderabad, too, found a rising star in left-arm pacer Natarajan. In the absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the 29-year-old bowler from Tamil Nadu has been one of the highlights in this season. He has picked up 14 wickets 13 matches and was one of the go-to bowlers for captain David Warner whenever he desperately needed wickets.
One of the very few positives for Chennai Super Kings — who had their worst IPL season — was Ruturaj Gaikwad. The right-handed batsman played six innings and scored 204 runs at an average of 51. His runs, including three brilliant half centuries, helped the three-time champions regain some lost pride and end the tournament on a high.
“He’s one of the most talented players around. What makes it difficult is he’s not somebody who speaks a lot. So, sometimes it becomes difficult for the management to gauge a player. Once he started going in the innings, you could see that he was hitting the ball the way he wants,” said MS Dhoni.
Kolkata Knight Riders’ leg-spinner Chakravarthy has had a fairy-tale IPL to say the least. The architect-turned-cricketer picked up 17 wickets in 13 matches and was one of the headline makers of the tournament. Owing to his brilliant performance, Chakravarthy broke into the Indian T20I squad that will tour Australia in December.
“It feels surreal to be picked for Australia T20Is. India call-up is definitely a big thing for me. I was really not expecting it,” said the 29-year-old spinner.
Another shining light for Kings XI Punjab was medium-pacer Arshdeep Singh. Although he picked nine wickets in eight matches, the six feet-three inches tall bowler showed great promise as he picked the prized wickets of Rohit Sharma, Manish Pandey, and Andre Russell among others. While he might have remained under the shadow of Mohammed Shami and Chris Jordan, this 21-year-old made his presence felt and showed that he definitely possesses the talent to perform at the international level as well.