From KL Rahul to Rishabh Pant, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been a springboard for numerous Indians as well as foreign cricketers, who claimed their fame through the dynamic T20 tournament to become world-beaters.
With the world’s most decorated T20 tournament returning to the fore once again, the event brings yet another opportunity for the upcoming generation to announce their arrival at the world stage. Here is a look at some promising debutants who could fire up IPL 2020.
RAVI BISHNOI (Kings XI Punjab)
The Rajasthan lad had already had the internet buzzing in anticipation ahead of his IPL debut with Kings XI Punjab. Ravi Bishnoi became a household name with his brilliant display at the ICC Under-19 World Cup earlier this year, where he took India to the final by finishing as the tournament’s highest wicket-taker, with 17 scalps to his name at an economy of 3.48.
Kings XI Punjab had realized Bishnoi’s potential before his U-19 World Cup heroics as they didn’t hesitate to shell out ₹2 crores in the auction last year. The 20-year-old is expected to live up to his billing. Having Anil Kumble as his mentor at the KXIP camp also helps Bishnoi’s cause.
KAMLESH NAGARKOTI (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Unlike his Rajasthan teammate, Kamlesh Nagarkoti’s IPL journey has been a rather unfortunate one. The promising speedster was picked by Kolkata Knight Riders two years back but repeated injuries meant he is yet to play in the IPL. Breaking into the international scene during the 2018 U-19 World Cup, where Nagarkoti impressed all by repeatedly clocking 145mph, the youngster was quickly dubbed as the next big thing in world cricket.
In 2018, KKR had spent ₹3.2 crores for the promising talent and the franchise has stood by their decision to back the bowler throughout the injury-plagued period. Training with star Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins, Nagarkoti has both time and experience on his side now. And with two-time IPL champions KKR desperately looking for their third title, the 20-year-old could be the game-changer for Dinesh Karthik and Co.
YASHASVI JAISWAL (Rajasthan Royals)
Undoubtedly the most popular cricketer to emerge from the U-19 World Cup this year, talented Yashasvi Jaiswal had become a rage after his rags to riches tale came into the spotlight. From selling panipuri to becoming the ‘Player of the Tournament’ at the World Cup, Jaiswal has had quite the journey. There are signs of his hard work all over his List A career, where the 18-year-old has three centuries and a double century to his name already, as he has tallied 779 runs in 13 matches at a brilliant average of 70. 81.
Rajasthan Royals had spotted the talent early on and their desperation to land the youngster became evident when they had to spend ₹2.4 crores to fend off advances from KXIP and KKR for Jaiswal.
RUTURAJ GAIKWAD (Chennai Super Kings)
Chennai Super Kings have a hidden protégé of their own in Ruturaj Gaikwad. The wicketkeeper-batsman was largely expected to be a reserve for the veteran CSK squad, but Suresh Raina’s dramatic return to India midway into the IPL pre-season has seen the Maharashtrian cricketer back into the mix.
However, Ruturaj Gaikwad isn’t a new face in Indian cricket. He had arrived at the domestic scene riding on a brilliant Cooch Behar Trophy 2014-15 campaign, where he scored 826 runs in six games with three centuries and a half-century. His rise looked unstoppable as he turned up for Maharashtra in the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy season, but an early injury saw the player needing surgery and consequently taking a lengthy break. However, Gaikwad has since recovered.
The batsman boasts of four centuries and six fifties in his 21 first-class matches, where he has garnered 1349 runs. In the 54 List A matches that he has played, Gaikwad has 2499 runs to his name with six centuries and 16 fifties. MS Dhoni’s guidance at the CSK camp could be all the mentoring that Gaikwad will need to take his giant leap.
TOM BANTON (Kolkata Knight Riders)
In the hockey player-turned-batsman Tom Banton, Kolkata Knight Riders have an exciting prospect who has already started ruling T20 tournaments across the world with his pyrotechnics. Having played against his KKR teammates Shubman Gill, Shivam Mavi and Nagarkoti at the 2018 U-19 World Cup already, Banton’s potential is no secret.
The 21-year-old England international has already played 40 T20 matches so far, with one century and eight half-centuries to his name at an average of 29.54. With Andre Russell, Eoin Morgan, Pat Cummins and Sunil Narine already filling KKR’s four overseas player quota, Banton isn’t expecting regular IPL matches this season.
However, with David Hussey describing Banton as the “better version of Kevin Pietersen” and the Englishman able to bat pretty much anywhere, he is expected to have some glittering cameos this IPL.
SHELDON COTTRELL (Kings XI Punjab)
From Dwayne Bravo to Chris Gayle, IPL has been a festival for Caribbean stars over the last decade and joining the list of coastal entertainers this season is the breath-taking, Sheldon Cottrell. The left-arm pacer had already left a massive mark on world cricket with his fast bowling and ferocious celebration, which led Kings XI Punjab to shell out a massive ₹8.5 crores for the West Indies international at the auction.
Turning out in national colours, Sheldon Cottrell has claimed 36 wickets in 27 matches so far. Though at 31, the bowler remains the odd one out in this list of IPL debutants, his experience could well see him become the best newcomer in the tournament.
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