MS Dhoni‘s departure from Tests signalled the end of an era in Indian cricket. The baton has now been passed on to a new, promising breed of talented cricketers. Virat Kohli will soon be leading Team India in the Test series against Sri Lanka. Much of the side remains the same that toured Bangladesh, except for the inclusion of Amit Mishra. The leg spinner has replaced Karn Sharma, marking his return to the Indian Test side after a 4-year hiatus. Meanwhile in Chennai, another young Indian side in India ‘A’ has been putting up an impressive show against the touring Aussies. Let’s take a look at the young Indian brigade!
1. KL Rahul
Rated as one of the best opening batsmen of India’s Gen Next, KL Rahul has risen through the ranks in the Karnataka Ranji team. Rahul’s consistency earned him plenty of praise from critics, including that of Rahul Dravid his idol. He was subsequently awarded a contract in the 2014 Indian T20 League by the Sunrisers Hyderabad. A fruitful 2014-15 domestic season with the bat granted him an official place in the Test side that toured Australia that year.
Strength: Technique and application.
2. Karun Nair
Another batsman from Karnataka’s domestic circuit, 24-year old Karun Nair had a fantastic first-class debut in 2013-14. His contributions with the bat helped Karnataka end their 15-year title drought in the Ranji Trophy. Nair was all of 15 when he first made it to the U-19 team. Soon, he became a premier batsman in Karnataka’s batting line-up. The Indian T20 League served as a huge platform for Nair, whose notable performances earned him a spot in India ‘A’.
Strength: Persistence and determination.
3. Shreyas Iyer
It wasn’t until the 2015 Indian T20 League that the world took notice of Shreyas Iyer, an emerging batsman in Mumbai’s domestic scene. Known for being a gogetter and a risktaker, Iyer was bought by the Delhi Daredevils for a whopping price Rs. 2.5 crore! 439 runs in the season and eighth place in the top-scorers list made him the rightful winner of the Emerging Player Award. Gary Kirsten touted him to be the next big thing in Indian cricket.
Strength: Fearless approach and adaptability.
4. Sanju Samson
Probably the best find of the Indian T20 League, young Sanju Samson announced himself on the biggest stage of Indian cricket in style. Hailing from Kerala, Samson was noticed for his batting style in junior cricket itself. He was soon drafted into Kerala’s U-19 team, followed by a place in India’s U-19 for the Asia Cup. His performances in the T20 tournament earned him recognition, far and wide.
Strength: Ability to time the ball, and precision in stroke play.
5. Sarfaraz Khan
As a 12-year old, Sarfaraz Khan played a marathon innings of 439 in a Harris Shield tournament game. At 17, he was bought by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for the 2015 Indian T20 League. Today, his batting talent has earned him a hefty deal with one of the biggest sports management companies in India. Regarded as an ‘exciting’ batsman by Sunil Gavaskar, Sarfaraz has already come a long way!
Strength: Aggressive approach and unflinching attitude.
Exciting times lie ahead for Indian cricket. If groomed well in the right proportions, these youngsters will definitely emerge as the torch-bearers of the country’s cricketing future.