3 players who look set to step up to Indian cricket team
Indian cricket is motoring along at rapid pace currently. The set-up is well managed with everything from nutrition to the training methods in place according to each player's requirements; the think-tank is restored and in place after the renewal of contracts for Ravi Shastri and the rest of the backroom staff with a few alterations. Workload management is being undertaken and all the key players are being rested from time to time to ensure reduced levels of fatigue and mental drain. This has resulted in clinical performances from the team regularly.
While the team is playing some of their best cricket across the three formats, some of the key players are entering their twilight as professional cricketers. While the ample rest and workload management has ensured elongated career spans, it is never too bad to look at replacements.
The domestic circuit is filled with talent that is looking to make their mark and wear the blue. Here is a look at three such players, who will take the next step sooner or later and might well be the key to the team’s success moving forward.
#1 Shubman Gill (Punjab)
The star of the last edition of the U19 World Cup, Shubman Gill has been knocking at the selectors' doors for quite some time now. Consistently batting and scoring huge loads of runs in all formats in the domestic circuit and taking it a notch higher with the ‘A’ squad, Shubman Gill is well on his way to becoming a superstar for a long time to come. Blessed with wonderful technique, Gill has put in the hard yards to stand apart from the rest of the batsmen in order to be noticed. Using the tutelage from Rahul Dravid who he extensively works with during the ‘A’ games, Gill has the right amount of composure to go with enormous flair and shot-making ability.
The latest prodigy to follow in the footsteps of a long list of batting greats, Gill’s perseverance has ensured that the step up from junior to senior cricket was seamless. In fact, he has adapted to the highest level of domestic cricket like a duck to water. In 9 first-class games, he averages a whopping 77.3 and boasts of a highest score of 268.
His form does not dip in limited-overs cricket as well, where he has scored 1591 runs in just 39 List-A games while averages over 30 in the T20s. He has had wonderful outings with the ‘A’ squads and it won’t be long before we see this lad from Punjab become a regular feature for the senior team across all three formats.
#2 Rahul Chahar (Rajasthan)
Rahul Chahar, the younger of the two Chahar brothers, burst on to the scene during the 2019 edition of the IPL. Turning out for eventual champions Mumbai Indians, Chahar had a fantastic event and was one of the side's key players during their path to glory. He recently got his first T20 cap during India's tour to the West Indies and the US on the back of a breakthrough season. Having played 13 matches this season in the IPL, he picked up 15 wickets at a miserly economy rate of 6.77. Equally good at bowling in the powerplay and the middle overs, Chahar showed excellent composure for a guy who is just 20 years of age.
Turning out for Rajasthan in the domestic circuit, Chahar has impressive numbers having registered 64 wickets in 16 games in first-class matches at an average of 28.34. His List-A career and domestic T20 records also prove his versatility with the white ball in hand. Chahar is among the new breed of leg-spinners to have come up through the ranks, like fellow competitors Yuzvendra Chahal and Mayank Markande. A well-developed range of balls at his disposal, Chahar's skill set will only improve with time and it won't be long before he stakes a claim to become a regular in the side.
#3 Ishan Kishan (Jharkhand)
Even though it is disheartening, it is time India looks at life in limited-overs cricket without MS Dhoni. The magnificent man is nearing the end of his career and India will be looking at options to replace him in the white-ball format. While Rishabh Pant is the automatic option having now become the Test side’s undisputed number one keeper and also having played at the World Cup this year, other keepers will be in the reckoning to get a berth in the squad. One of those players is Ishan Kishan, who belongs to the same state as MS Dhoni. Again, a player who rose from the ranks and came all the way up, Ishan Kishan has had success in the domestic circuit and has become a regular feature in the ‘A’ tours and Duleep Trophy teams.
The southpaw was India’s captain at the 2015 U19 World Cup and opened the batting with Rishabh Pant. Handy glove-work and a cool head on his shoulder, he can feature as a wicket-keeper or purely as a batsman for the national team. His IPL stint with Mumbai Indians has also enabled him to bat flexibly across the batting lineup and he has the temperament and the firepower to bat according to the team’s needs.
Still only 21 years of age, Ishan Kishan has started to put in fine performances for the ‘A’ squad with the recent one coming on the 31st of August against South Africa ‘A’ in the second unofficial ODI. With the team in trouble at 57 for 3 in a rain-marred game, Kishan smashed a 24-ball 55 to help India reach the target. Another aspect of Kishan’s that will help the team will be the DRS calls. Having had led many sides in his career, Ishan Kishan has the calmness and knows not to get carried away while deciding on the reviews.
It will be interesting to see when the selectors put their faith in this young left-hander and his abilities.