The Indian T20 League has been the platform for many young bowlers to make their mark in a format traditionally dominated by batsmen. From the likes of Jasprit Bumrah to Rashid Khan, capable bowlers have been able to develop variations that were able to stump the batsman at the crease.
The 2020 edition of the Indian T20 League has seen the memorable performances of Axar Patel and T Natarajan, who impressed the world with their debut on the international stage. The teams have once again invested in young players this year, and there are poised to be a few young bowlers who will launch themselves into the limelight by the end of the season.
We look at five upcoming bowlers to watch out for in the Indian T20 League 2021:
#5: Kartik Tyagi
Kartik Tyagi made a mark in the last season of the Indian T20 League with his daring attitude while playing for Team Rajasthan. Tyagi first made his mark with an impressive run in the U-19 World Cup – he took 11 wickets, including a game-changing 4/24 against Australia in the last eight. The 20-year-old pacer doesn’t mind conceding runs; he conceded 9.61 runs an over in the last season. But his aggressive approach works for the team in crucial times, picking up wickets and breaking established partnerships.
With Jofra Archer out of the Team Rajasthan squad for a substantial part of the season with an injury, Kartik Tyagi will have ample opportunities to earn himself a place in the Indian squad.
#4: Riley Meredith
Team Punjab’s auction strategy this year was dominated by their need to strengthen their pace department. By the end of the auction, it was clear that Team Punjab are betting on uncapped young bowlers – especially Riley Meredith, the most expensive uncapped foreign player in the history of the league.
The Tasmanian pacer is known for his lightning-fast deliveries – he can consistently clock speeds of 150 kmph. Meredith came into the limelight with an impressive performance in the 2018-19 edition of the Big Bash League for Hobart, picking up 16 wickets apart from a stellar performance in the Shield. He racked up 43 wickets overall in the BBL, with an impressive economy rate of 8.06.
As far as Team Punjab is concerned, the young pacer has to compete with his fellow compatriot Jhye Richardson, who Team Punjab have picked up for a record ₹14 crores. But a few opportunities might be enough for the Tasmanian to make his mark in the minds of Australian selectors.
#3: R Sai Kishore
The left-arm spinner was instrumental in Tamil Nadu’s Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy triumph. He picked up eight wickets in the tournament with an extraordinary economy rate of 4.82. Sai Kishore’s T20 run-rate across all his games is just 5.28, a statistic that is almost rare for spin-bowlers in the shortest format of the game.
Team Chennai bought him in the auction for the last edition of the Indian T20 League but did not field him in a game. Team Chennai’s abysmal performance last season made both the team management and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni lookout for fresh faces to bring a much-needed change in the team’s fortunes. That might mean a debut for Sai Kishore, who can be of invaluable help to the team by crippling the run-rate in middle-overs.
#2: Lukman Meriwala
The left-arm pacer from Baroda made his mark in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy earlier this year with an impressive 15 wickets, the second-highest in the tournament. Baroda’s run-up to the final was in part due to Meriwala’s consistent performance throughout the tournament with an average of 12.2.
His 5/8 against Chhattisgarh and 3/28 against Punjab in the semis must have been in Team Delhi’s minds when they picked him up for his base price of ₹20 lakhs. This will be Meriwala’s first opportunity to rub shoulders with the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Ishant Sharma, and he will be eager to take this opportunity to level up his game.
#1: Marco Jansen
Jansen and his twin brother Duan made news when they were summoned by coach Ravi Shastri to bowl during an Indian net session when Virat Kohli’s men toured South Africa in 2018. It is partly due to Quinton de Kock’s confidence in the youngster that Team Mumbai acquired him for his base price of ₹20 lakhs.
The 6’8’ seamer can definitely intimidate the batsmen, both with his height and his fast deliveries. Jansen has featured in 13 List A fixtures and 10 T20Is so far, picking up 16 and six wickets, respectively. What’s more, Jansen can bat – he scored three half-centuries so far in his List A career. Team Mumbai is brimming with all-rounders like Hardik Pandya, and in Jansen, they have another all-rounder who can bat lower down the order.
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