True to its Sanskrit motto, "Yatra Pratibha Avsara Prapnotihi" translated in English as, "Where Talent Meets Opportunity," the Indian Premier League (IPL) has over the years helped in shaping the careers of several Indian as well as overseas players by giving them the platform to showcase their talent to the world.
Apart from the already-established names of the cricketing world, the IPL always throws up new names who light up the tournament with their blazing performances.
In the past few seasons, fast bowlers like Marco Jansen, Shivam Mavi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Deepak Chahar, Avesh Khan and several others have shown their prowess in the cash-rich league. Last season, pacers like Mukesh Choudhary, Yash Dayal, Kuldeep Sen, Mohsin Khan and Umran Malik impressed with their quality performances.
Fast bowlers are an integral part of any quality T20 side. Since the IPL's inception, several speedsters such as Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah, Dwayne Bravo, Dale Steyn and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have plied their trade for years with distinction.
The importance of pacers is such that they are used throughout the innings be it the powerplay, the middle-overs and the death overs. The role of the lead fast bowler was witnessed in the IPL 2023 auction, wherein the most experienced purchase was English star Sam Curran at a whopping at ₹18.5 crores.
On that note, let us look at three fast bowlers who might be a surprise package in IPL 2023.
#1 Yash Thakur (Lucknow Super Giants)
The 24-year-old Yash Thakur impressed everyone in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2022-23 with his sheer pace, accuracy and ability to swing the ball both ways. In 10 matches, the youngster picked up 15 wickets at a miserly economy rate of 7.17.
What makes him even more potent in the T20 format is his ability to bowl at the death. The youngster defended 11 and 9 runs in the final over of two matches of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, against Uttarakhand and Delhi, respectively. Picked up at INR 45 lakhs by the Lucknow Super Giants, it won't be a surprise to see this young pace prodigy make it big in this edition.
#2 Mukesh Kumar (Delhi Capitals)
Mukesh Kumar's story from the small town of Gopalganj in Bihar to being picked for the Indian Cricket Team in 2022 is truly inspirational. Furthermore, he fetched a whopping bid of ₹5.5 crores from the Delhi Capitals in the IPL 2023 Auction as well.
The 29-year-old pacer, who earlier was trying to join either the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) or the Bihar Police, is one of the rarest players to be selected for the Indian Cricket Team even before making his IPL debut. After being picked for the Men in Blue for the home series against South Africa in October 2022,
Kumar recently impressed in the second Unofficial Test between India A and Bangladesh A, picking up 6 for 40 in the first innings. He is certainly one of the players to watch out for in IPL 2023.
#3 Joshua Little (Gujarat Titans)
Joshua Little became the first Irish cricketer to secure an IPL contract after being picked by the Gujarat Titans for INR 4.4 crores. The left-arm pacer impressed the cricket fraternity in the T20 World Cup 2022 after he picked a hat-trick against the star-studded New Zealand side. He picked up the wickets of Kane Williamson, James Neesham and Mitchell Santner.
In the showpiece event, the youngster picked up 11 wickets in six games. It is to be noted that seven out of his 11 dismissals, came against teams like Australia, England and New Zealand. Moreover, the Irishman picked up the most wickets (39) in T20Is in 2022. The 23-year-old is surely an exciting prospect for the Gujarat Titans, who could fill the boots of Lockie Ferguson.
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