Midway through the T20 League, we take a look at FIVE young Indian players who have shown sparks of brilliance, with many predicting a promising future for them:
SHREYAS IYER (DD)
The 20-year old Mumbai batsman, playing for perennial underperformers Delhi Daredevils, along with captain Duminy and spinner Tahir, has been the rare success story for this embattled T20 outfit. Fresh from his first Ranji season, he scored more than 800 runs at an average of above 50 for Mumbai—which makes his asking price of more than Rs. 2 crore in the auction pretty justifiable. What’s more, the talented right-hander has proved himself in the league already, with some scintillating innings reminiscent of a young Virender Sehwag. He has the swagger, he has the confidence—and much like Rohit Sharma, only his temperament needs some work. Iyer will go places, no doubt, and only a few months in the limelight with elevate him to household-name status in a country thirsting for another batting superstar.
SANDEEP SHARMA (KXIP)
Once again, the 21-year old nippy swing bowler, is once again dazzling fans with yet another stellar season for the Punjab outfit. He was their best bowler in 2014 along with young offspinner Axar Patel, and while the latter has been inconsistent this season, Sandeep has been amongst the wickets and has kept the runs down in the powerplay overs. His performances will not go unnoticed—Could he be the next Irfan Pathan for our ODI team?
YUZVENDRA CHAHAL (RCB)
Another breakout star from the 2014 edition, leg-break bowler Chahal has continued to bamboozle with his variety, and has carried the RCB bowling till Starc came in. The 24 year old has been praised by all and sundry for his control and economy rate, and while it is unclear if he can become an effective bowler in the longer format of the game, his T20 credentials will leave nobody in doubt. He is also the only cricketer to represent his country in both Chess (U-16) and Cricket (Haryana), and could soon break into the Indian national team—which is already in desperate need of a spinner that can support Ashwin.
DEEPAK HOODA (RR)
Hooda arrested attention in a star-studded Aussie-heavy team with a few dynamic innings in the first 4 games for the Royals—showcasing his clean hitting (reminiscent of Yusuf Pathan), and handy offbreaks. He has gone off the boil since then, perhaps not afforded enough opportunity to prove himself at no. 6—which business often done and dusted by the time he is required to come in. Perhaps Watson and co. need to promote him to no. 5 in place of a struggling Sanju Samson, or even no. 3 to replace a struggling Karun Nair. Nevertheless, he has been their find so far, and will need to be more consistent if he wants to break out of the clutter.
SARFARAZ KHAN (RCB)
He hasn’t done anything of note yet, but the 17-year old batsman is supposed to be the next big thing after shattering school records in Mumbai, before 15-year old Prithvi Shaw (another prodigy) took over. Perhaps Shaw will secure his contract soon, but Khan must clear the path for him and many others by emulating a young 18-year Virat Kohli in the inaugural season. Khan showed spurts of ability and talent in his little cameo a few days back until he slapped the ball straight to deep midwicket, and has a promising future ahead if he is given enough time at the crease in a batting-heavy RCB outfit.