T20 cricket is the shortest format of the game and the fast-paced nature of proceedings in which the outcome is decided within a space of 3-4 hours means the players have to be on the money pretty much all the time. The fate of the match can be decided in the space of a few deliveries and the balance can swing in favour of one team easily.
Unlike the Test and ODI formats, T20 cricket, ever since its inception, has been tailor-made for the younger generation as senior players often fail to adjust to the pace and energy associated with the 20-over format. Indian cricket fans would know that pretty well considering how the Big 3 – Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid – opted to not be considered for selection for the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, which an energetic Men in Blue side won under the captaincy of MS Dhoni.
The very next year, the IPL was born, and ten years down the line, the cricket extravaganza has grown considerably in stature and is undoubtedly one of the most sought after T20 competitions in the world with cricketers from all across the globe making their presence felt.
The success of the likes of Brad Hogg and Pravin Tambe notwithstanding, IPL has essentially served as a platform for young cricketers to prove their mettle against the best in the business.
With franchises digging deep into the talent pool at their disposal, many aspiring international cricketers have got their chance to impress at a very young age. The latest to join the party is Tamil Nadu youngster Washington Sundar who made his IPL debut for Rising Pune Supergiant against reigning champions Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday, aged just 17 years and 199 days.
For those who are wondering whether he is the youngest player to make his IPL debut, the answer is no as he is only third on the list of youngest IPL debutants. Here we list the top 5 debutants in IPL history.
#5 Ishan Kishan
One of India’s brightest young prospects, Ishan Kishan has already had several ups and downs in his short career so far. Named as the skipper of the Indian side at the 2016 ICC U-19 World Cup, Kishan was disappointing with the bat at the tournament where the Rahul Dravid-coached side ended up on the losing side in the final against West Indies.
However, his fantastic form leading up to the tournament persuaded new IPL entrants Gujarat Lions to spend Rs 35 lakh to secure Kishan’s services at the 2016 IPL auctions and the youngster went on to make his IPL debut against Kings XI Punjab on April 11, 2016, aged 17 years and 268 days, making him the third-youngest IPL debutant at the time.
He had a disappointing IPL campaign though as he scored only 42 runs from five matches but made up for the disappointment with a stellar domestic campaign which saw him score 799 runs for Jharkhand in the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy, which also included a knock of 273 against Delhi, the highest individual score in the state’s history in India’s premier domestic competition.
With the swashbuckling duo of Australia’s Adam Gilchrist and Jharkhand's very own MS Dhoni as his idols, Kishan has his ideology clearly worked out and we witnessed his shot-making skills recently when he nearly guided his IPL side to victory against RCB with a knock of 39 off just 16 balls, making a certain Virat Kohli lose his bearings.
As of now, Kishan is No 5 on the list of youngest IPL debutants and he is someone whom India have high expectations from in the future.