IPL 2020: 3 young guns from KXIP to watch out for
- Here’s a look at three youngsters from the Mohali-based franchise who can make a mark in this year's edition.
Despite the presence of a number of world-class players in their franchise over the years, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) have failed to win the Indian Premier League (IPL) even once. They were semi-finalists in the inaugural edition in 2008 and made the finals in 2014, where they went down to Kolkata Knight Riders. In every other edition, KXIP have been knocked out in the league stage itself. Last year, they stood sixth.
In an endeavor to improve their performance this time, the Mohali-based franchise has named an impressive support staff for IPL 2020. While former India captain Anil Kumble will serve as the head coach and director of cricket operations for KXIP, Zimbabwe legend Andy Flower will be the assistant coach. Jonty Rhodes, perhaps the world’s greatest fielder, has been appointed fielding coach. Another South African, Charl Langeveldt is the bowling coach, and the recently retired Wasim Jaffer is the batting coach.
The presence of such distinguished names in the support staff will not help the established names in the team to flourish, but also provide the youngsters with the perfect opportunity to go ahead and make a name for themselves.
On that note, here are 3 youngsters from KXIP who you need to watch out for this year:
#1 Sarfaraz Khan
Only 22, Sarfaraz Khan has seen both sides of fame. Very early in his cricket career, he was suspended on charges of fudging his age by the Mumbai Cricket Association, before eventually being cleared. He was even criticized for his weight.
However, this Ranji season, Khan has been splendid for Mumbai. He smashed a superb 301 not out against Uttar Pradesh, an unbeaten 226 against Himachal Pradesh, 78 against Saurashtra, and 177 versus Madhya Pradesh.
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In the IPL, he was the youngest to be bought by a franchise during the auction back in 2015, when he was purchased by RCB. Last year, he scored 180 runs in eight matches for KXIP at an average of 45 and a strike rate of 125.87. The expectations will be higher from the youngster this time around.
#2 Ravi Bishnoi
19-year-old Ravi Bishnoi is expected to continue India’s great tradition of producing leg-spinners. He proved his worth and talent in no uncertain terms in the U19 World Cup in South Africa, finishing as the leading wicket-taker with 17 wickets in six matches at an average of 10.64 with three four-wicket hauls, with his best figures of 4/25 coming in the match against Japan.
Bishnoi starred in the final as well with 4 for 30 against Bangladesh but did not have enough runs to defend. The youngster can turn the ball big and possesses an excellent googly as well. Being a leg-spinner, he can turn matches around on his day.
#3 Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Only 18, Afghanistan off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman has been touted to achieve big things. On March 8, in the second T20I against Ireland, he claimed 3 for 38 to lead Afghanistan to an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
In February 2018, at the age of 16 years and 325 days, he became the youngest player to take a five-wicket haul in ODIs in a match against Zimbabwe. Earlier, on his ODI debut against Ireland, he was the Man of the Match for his 4 for 24. Rahman’s international exploits led him to be chosen by KXIP for the 2018 edition.
He repaid the faith with 14 wickets in 11 matches at a strike rate of 17.71. Although he managed only three scalps from five games last year, there is no doubt that Rahman has genuine wicket-taking ability and the mystery spinner can be a force to reckon with this year.Published 10 Mar 2020, 13:45 IST