IPL 2020 has been strange for different reasons, but the tournament continues to churn out young stars.
Indian Premier League 2020 came as a sigh of relief for millions of cricket fans across the country. Amidst the stress of the pandemic, cricket has come to the rescue as IPL started the campaign in UAE in September.
At the halfway stage, the highlight of the campaign has been performances by uncapped Indian players. The latest generation of young cricketers has showcased character has shown amazing composure while delivering good performances in pressure situations.
This IPL season has been challenging for some teams in terms of the unavailability of a few key players due to the ongoing pandemic. This has come as a blessing in disguise for some youngsters as they got more chances than the usual IPL campaign. Here are some of the emerging stars in IPL 2020.
The southpaw has set the stage on fire with amazing stroke play for Royal Challengers Bangalore. He has carried his good form in the domestic circuit to IPL. Padikkal was the top scorer for Karnataka across all formats. His knock of 122* in the Syed Mushtaq trophy made him a sure shot contender for Royal Challengers Bangalore playing eleven.
In his debut season of IPL, Padikkal has scored three half-centuries so far. He has also proved himself as one of the safest fielders in the RCB squad. The elegant young opener has a long way to go, but the initial signs are promising. Learning under Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers is going to benefit Padikkal in the long term.
Rahul Tewatia has come in as a savior for the Rajasthan Royals (RR) this season. He has shown amazing temperament to take the team over the line during two amazing run chases. Tweatia has been equally good in the field, taking some amazing catches in the outfield. With the ball, his most promising performance came against Chennai Super Kings in Sharjah as he took three wickets in four overs.
Tewatia started his IPL career with RR in 2014. He had stints at Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Capitals before moving back to RR in 2020. He has proven his worth in this season. Tewatia has been a surprise package this season, and his stock continues to get bigger with every passing game.
A right-arm fast bowler with high arm action, which is almost a replica of Brett Lee, will always be a treat to watch. Kartik Tyagi has an aesthetically pleasing action, and his bowling has been equally impressive in IPL 2020. He can consistently bowl around 140kph. His bowling since U-19 world cup days in 2019 has grabbed the eyeballs of all the cricket gurus. In the IPL 2020, Tyagi has been hitting hard lengths against the best batsmen in the world. The youngster doesn’t get overwhelmed by the occasion and executes his plan calmly in crunch situations. His aggression seems to be key and makes him a genuine wicket-taker.
Arshdeep Singh’s bowling was impressive during the U19 world cup in 2018. He was part of the U19 world cup winning team in 2018 as a genuine quick bowler. A lanky left-arm speedster that can consistently hit the right line and length without compromising pace.
His performance against RR in his debut IPL season last year was remarkable. The youngster has looked even more dangerous this year, especially while bowling at the death. Against KKR, he bowled 15 dots in his four overs, which is second-best in an inning this season, and took the wicket of dangerous Andre Russel. It’s tough being part of the bowling unit that is struggling, but this young quick has impressed time and again with his skills and execution.
The fast bowler that has impressed the most this season is none other than SRH quickie Natarajan. This left-arm fast bowler can nail Yorkers at will, making him such a special talent. In a game against DC, he demonstrated his precision in bowling Yorkers and performed beautifully.
During the journey from a tennis ball cricketer to becoming the most dependable bowler of his Ranji Team and TNPL side, Natarajan is finally getting the plaudits he deserves in the biggest T-20 tournament in the world. Natarajan may not be the youngest player on this list, but he could play a big role in the immediate future of the Indian team.
Shivam Mavi & Kamlesh Nagarkoti
Shivam Mavi & Kamlesh Nagarkoti were part of the U-19 team as bowling all-rounders. Last season was curtailed by injuries for the duo. Persisting with such talents has paid off for the team this season. Both of them were successful in making their presence count with raw pace and exceptional fielding.
Ravi Bishnoi, a brave young leggie, has been delivering impressive performances for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). He has been outstanding in a bowling lineup that hasn’t fired enough. Wrist spinners are an essential part of the T20 squad. They can take wickets in crunch situations. Bishnoi ticks all boxes, making him a regular member of KXIP.
His match-winning spell of 3 for 32 against RCB was phenomenal. Like Chahal and Rashid Khan, he is not afraid to pitch the ball up. He is a match-winner since the youngster has the knack of taking wickets consistently.
From India’s future point of view, amongst these star performers, the most important has been the emergence of pace bowling prodigies. Huge credit for the same goes to Rahul Dravid for acknowledging their talent and grooming these youngsters at U-19 and India A level.
By Aashish Jaju