IPL 2018: 5 Indian stars who may rule world cricket 5 years from now
How many of us remember the number of runs Virat Kohli scored in the inaugural edition of the IPL? Or how much was he paid for his services by RCB? Or even if he got the chance to bat in all of RCB's fixtures back in 2008?
Very few fans will remember how the then youngster struggled. At least Delhi Daredevils have a learned a valuable lesson after letting Kohli go in the inaugural IPL, as they have formed a solid core of talented youngsters who make us believe that Indian cricket is in safe hands.
IPL, borne out of the idea of providing budding Indian talent with an ideal platform to showcase their skill, has proven to be a fairytale experience for many such players.
Ravichandran Ashwin's ability to bowl in the Powerplay overs, Ravindra Jadeja's economical bowling, Bhuvneshwar Kumar's accuracy at the death, Jasprit Bumrah's lethal yorker, Hardik Pandya's utility as an all-rounder... the list goes on.
There are numerous examples of Indians who shone at the IPL stage and went on to be rewarded with national caps that in turn helped them become international stars in cricket.
The Indian team has benefitted from the products of the league and the fact that there is healthy competition in the team for positions reflects how the T20 extravaganza has played a major role in developing young cricketers.
A successful IPL season has seldom gone unnoticed and consistent performances across seasons often attracts the eyes of the national selectors.
We look at the season gone by and identify five stars who can be superstars for the Indian national team.
Note: All stats have been updated till the end of the league stage of IPL 2018
#5 Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant, the 20-year-old dashing Delhi batsman may have got the snub as far as the national squad for England is concerned, but if he continues to perform the way he has in this IPL, it will be difficult for the selectors to keep ignoring him.
In what can easily be termed as a watershed season for the southpaw, Pant amassed 684 runs this season, ending the league stage with the Orange Cap. He smashed bowlers all around the park while registering 37 sixes in the tournament, 4 more than second-placed Ambati Rayudu.
He bettered Robin Uthappa's 2014 tally of 660 runs to become the highest run aggregator as a wicketkeeper, in a single edition of IPL. Coming to bat in the middle order for DD, he scored his runs at a healthy average of 52.61 and at a brisk strike rate of 173.60, which was the best amongst seven batsmen who scored more than 500 runs this season.
His best efforts could not save Delhi from a bottom of the table finish as he hardly found support from the other mainstays of the Delhi batting unit, this fact best highlighted by his knock of 128* that came in a losing cause.
With age on his side, decent glove work behind the stumps, and a fearless attitude towards batting in limited overs cricket puts him in good stead for the coming years.
With Mahendra Singh Dhoni's probable exit post the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 creating a huge void in the Indian team for the wicketkeeper's role, Pant will fancy his chances of entering the national squad if he delivers consistent performances in the upcoming months.