IPL 2017: Top 8 domestic players who can be game changers
We know all about AB de Villiers, Rohit Sharma, Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni, but how about the local domestic players who sneak under the radar? Ahead of the start of the IPL 2017 on Wednesday, we’ve pinpointed one player at each team who, although less celebrated, could have a big role to play for their side in this coming season.
Delhi Daredevils: Rishabh Pant
Delhi's batting is flush with talented young Indian players: Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, Karun Nair and Aditya Tare, but none are as exciting as Rishabh Pant. The southpaw, at just 19 years old, has completed one of the most impressive Ranji Trophy seasons in recent times.
Pant, a broad-chested left-hander, scored 972 runs in the 2016/17 Ranji Trophy at a staggering strike rate of 107.28, hitting a six every 18 balls, bringing a T20 approach to the four-day game.
Pant has since made his T20 international debut for India, against England in Bengaluru, scoring five not out, and now has an opportunity in a team desperately in need of a batting saviour after the withdrawals of Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy, to stamp his authority on the IPL and take his game to the next level.
Gujarat Lions: Ishan Kishan
Gujarat’s lower order batting is an area of concern for the team with Dwayne Bravo, James Faulkner and Ravindra Jadeja all being all rounders for whom batting is a considerably weaker suit. 18-year-old wicketkeeper batsman Kishan, who is on the fringes of the Gujarat team and would most likely bat in the lower order, could therefore be a critical player for the team.
Kishan made his IPL debut last season for Gujarat after being sold for 32 lakh at the 2016 auction and captained India at the Under 19 World Cup shortly after. Although he failed to make much of an impression last season, scoring 42 runs at a run rate of 6.14 RPO, he displayed some impressive hitting in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy earlier this season, indicating he had brought more power to his game.