BCCI has, over the years, put its riches to use, investing in the infrastructure and coaching. The move paid off well, leading to an entire generation of youngsters ready to make their way into the cricketing folklore. These youngsters are yet to be tested for the rigours of international cricket but their exceptional talent inspires confidence about their imminent rise through the ranks. Here are top 11 youngsters with a strong claim for a role in the senior team.
If Rahul Dravid speaks highly about you, people are bound to take a notice of your talent. Rishabh Pant has often taken the centre stage with his belligerent knocks and agile glove work in the IPL and first-class cricket and is slated to be the apparent heir of MSD. These are huge shoes to fill but this talented youngster can be up to the task provided he develops a proper technique to play short balls and keep his balance intact when in the follow through.
Prithvi Shaw is young, top order batsman in the mould of Sachin Tendulkar. Not only because he comes from Mumbai but also for his aggressive approach, game awareness and stroke play, especially the cover drive and straight drive. His IPL record is terrific with 2 fifties in 5 matches, striking at over 150, while his domestic season was also satisfactory. Prithvi also has leadership abilities, as he displayed in the latest edition of the U19 WC that India won convincingly. A great find for India, both as a batsman and a leader, provided he is nurtured the right way.
Shubman Gill is rated as the most talented young uncapped batsman, and with his exploits in the recent U19 World Cup and IPL, it is easy to understand why. He averaged 124 and struck at over 115 in the U19 WC, helping his side to convincing victories match after match. Shubman’s leverage is his adaptability, as he can anchor the innings and get some quick runs as well. Although he excels at number 3, he can open the innings or play at number 4 if need be.
This young batsman is a combination of skills and temperament, as his terrific first-class record suggests. Shreyas has been on a roll in this Ranji season, scoring 1321 runs for Mumbai and seeing the team through to yet another title victory. In the entire season, he scored over 3000 runs in 34 games and averaged around 55. Add 8 centuries with the highest score of 200 to it, the record becomes more impressive. With Gautam Gambhir’s unceremonious exit from captaincy, Shreyas was chosen to lead Delhi Daredevils in IPL this year. Although he was unable to reverse the team’s fortunes, he impressed with the bat playing some inspirational innings.
- Armaan Jaffer:
This young opening batsman is a child prodigy with a pedigree. Armaan has seemingly inherited tenacity and a placid technique from his uncle Wasim Jaffer who opened few innings for India. With the record of highest runs in school cricket, he has been opening the innings for Mumbai in the first-class circuit with poise and responsibility, making him good for the longer haul. However, he has to find ways to score quickly to be eligible for selection across all formats.
- Avesh Khan:
Yet another prolific performer in the U19 World Cup 2018, Avesh Khan is a bowler who can terrorize the best of batsmen with sheer pace and accuracy. In the recently concluded U19 World Cup, he formed a pace trio with Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi, wrecking havoc on hapless batsmen who meekly surrendered. If nurtured, this young man from Madhya Pradesh can be the speedster that India continues to look for long.
The emergence of Shivam Mavi is an assurance that India’s pace bowling will thrive in the future. The bowler stays significant for the sheer combination of pace and discipline he brings to the table. He can clock over 145K and still maintain good line and length, which is commendable for an 18-year-old boy. Shivam also has skills and temperament to bowl in the death overs, as was amply evident when he bowled against MSD in the recent IPL.
Sarfaraz Khan has had his share of ups and down in a short yet eventful cricketing career. This youngster has been a regular fixture for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL, sharing the dressing room with the likes of ABD and Virat. He has a reputation for big hitting, as he can take apart any bowling attack on any surface on a given day. However, what holds him back is lack of consistency and fitness issues that surface time and again. Sarfaraz is overly aggressive, which is yet another loophole that he needs to plug to make the transition to the highest level.
Not many youngsters on the domestic circuit can match the elegance and authority that Sanju Samson displays when in form. Having represented India in T20I, the Kerala-based batsman is striving to make a comeback to the dressing room through some stellar performances in IPL. Like Sarfaraz, Samson’s vulnerability has been his inconsistency, which is keeping him away from a re-entry to the highest level. His indifferent attitude is also a cause for concern.
Mumbai has a knack for producing some of the finest cricketers that the game has ever seen. In the same mould is Vijay Zol, a promising southpaw with an appetite for big runs. He batted his way to age-cricket glory with a splendid knock of 451 off 467 in a Cooch Behar Trophy match. With a century against New Zealand-A and a double ton in his Ranji debut, Vijay proved that he is no one-innings wonder.
Kamlesh Nagarkoti is the best bet when it comes to sheer pace. The young man can bamboozle even the best in the business with his fierce pace, clocking 148 and above with remarkable consistency. However, he has to bring variety to his bowling to nurse hopes for Indian Jersey.