IPL 2018: 5 teen sensations to look out for

Prithvi Shaw led India U19 team to the World Cup earlier this month
Prithvi Shaw led India U19 team to the World Cup earlier this month
Umaima Saeed

The Indian Premier League serves as a gateway to the national cricket team as much as the Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare or Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy does. Each year, the tournament produces a stellar performer who gets noticed by the national selectors, just like the story of young Tamil Nadu pacer Washington Sundar, whose good performances in the IPL (apart from in the TNPL) earned him his international call-up recently.

Similar stories can be told of Basil Thampi, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer and the others. Here we list down five teen sensations who can exceed expectations in the forthcoming season of the cash-rich tournament, beginning on April 7 at the iconic Wankhede Stadium.

#1 Prithvi Shaw

Before the U19 World Cup 2018, which India won, 18-year-old batsman Prithvi Shaw was moderately well-known among cricket lovers. But after leading India to the World Cup title in New Zealand, the Mumbai-born youngster has become a household name.

Shaw came into the limelight after he, at the age of 14, scored an outstanding 546 runs off 330 balls at a school match against St Francis D'Assisi in Mumbai. Shaw has hit five centuries and three fifties in nine first-class games and is often touted as India’s next Sachin Tendulkar.

In what will be his first IPL, Shaw was snapped for 1.2 crore by Delhi Daredevils. Watch out for some elegant strokeplay by the opening batsman.

#2 Sandeep Lamichhane

Sandeep is the first cricketer from Nepal to play in the IPL
Sandeep is the first cricketer from Nepal to play in the IPL

In the IPL 2018 auctions, 17-year-old Sandeep Lamichhane became the first ever Nepal cricketer to be signed up by an IPL franchise. The leg spin bowler was picked up by the Delhi Daredevils for his base price of Rs 20 lakh.

Lamichhane shot to fame during the 2016 edition of the U-19 World Cup, when he picked up 14 wickets to become the second highest wicket-taker of the tournament, which also included a hat-trick against Ireland in his spell of 5/27.

After his heroics in the global tournament, Lamicchane received mentorship from former Australian skipper Michael Clarke, from whom he learned a lot. Watch out for the youngster, for IPL can produce another Rashid Khan-like story this edition.

#3 Mujeeb Zadran

At 16, Mujeeb is the youngest player to take an ODI five-wicket haul

At only 16 years of age, Afghanistan’s Mujeeb Zadran is making waves in international cricket. Zadran fetched a hefty pay-check of Rs 4 crore from Kings XI Punjab at the auction. The colt, who comes from a cricketing family in Afghanistan, first shot to fame by claiming four wickets on debut against Ireland in 2017.

At the recently concluded Under 19 World Cup, he claimed six wickets at an average of 26.66 and an economy of 3.5 as his country reached the semi-finals. Last week, he became the youngest player to take an ODI five-wicket haul during Afghanistan's win over Zimbabwe in an ODI.

As per those who have followed his career closely, Zadran has made most of every opportunity given to him, something that he will look to continue in the IPL.

#4 Kamlesh Nagarkoti

Nagarkoti's express pace makes him a standout bowler

18-year-old Kamlesh Nagarkoti is one of India’s most promising young bowlers. At the U-19 World Cup opening clash between India and Australia, the Rajasthani pacer was seen bowling consistently in excess of 145 kmph with one express delivery touching 149 kmph.

In 2017, he was selected for the Under-19 team that toured England, and he went onto become the leading wicket-taker in that series. He was also included in the Indian Under-23 team for the Asia Cup.

Nagarkoti again grabbed limelight when he took a hat-trick against Gujarat on his debut for Rajasthan in the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2017. Subsequently, he was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs 3.2 crore in the auction and will be one to look out for.

#5 Shubman Gill

Gill was the highest run-scorer for India in the 2018 edition of the U19 World Cup
Gill was the highest run-scorer for India in the 2018 edition of the U19 World Cup

The 18-year-old batsman from Punjab made news for two different reasons in a single week. First, he scored a century for India in the semi-final of the U-19 World Cup against Pakistan, and second, during the weekend, he bagged an IPL contract for Rs 1.8 crore with Kolkata Knight Riders.

Of the two Ranji games that he has played, he has a century in one of them. His other well-known feats include scoring a double-century in his U-16 debut for Punjab, winning the best junior cricketer award from the BCCI for two successive years, and winning the Man of the Series trophy in the U-19 ODIs against England, smashing 147 in an ODI in Sussex.

Edited by Sankalp Srivastava

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