IPL 6: Domestic talent to watch out for
Sandeep Sharma is in a similar mold to Praveen Kumar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He doesn’t possess too much pace and is a bowler who concentrates on immaculate line and length, as well as being economical. He spearheaded the Indian U-19 bowling attack in Australia, and finished the tournament as the joint-leading wicket taker, with 12 wickets. After being part of the triumphant Indian team, Sandeep Sharma did well in the domestic circuit. He asserted himself as one of the leading domestic bowlers in the country, scalping 41 wickets in nine matches with a stunning bowling average of 19.41. He was good in the Vijay Hazare trophy too, after which he was awarded an IPL contract by the Kings XI Punjab.
Siddarth Kaul is the brother of Uday Kaul, the wicket-keeper batsman from Punjab. Unlike his brother, Siddarth is a medium pacer; he is also another U-19 World Cup hero. He was part of the team that won the World Cup in 2008 under the captaincy of Virat Kohli. Siddarth was vital to India’s cause, and scalped 10 wickets in that tournament. This season, he was a shining light in the Ranji Trophy, ending as the second-highest wicket-taker in the season with 44 wickets in nine matches, and was one of the main reasons why Punjab came through to the semi-finals. Siddarth Kaul has been signed by the Delhi Daredevils for IPL 6. Given the injury to Varun Aaron, he might feature for the Daredevils, and will hopefully impress.
Not often does a cricketer from Jammu & Kashmir make it into the limelight in Indian cricket. Parvez Rasool is a rare exception. Rasool is a bowling all-rounder who has performed consistently well in Ranji cricket this season.
He is rated highly by Bishen Singh Bedi, who believes that Rasool will make it big in the Indian team some day. Rasool is best known for having welcomed the Aussies to India with a scalp of 7/45 prior to the start of the Border-Gavaskar series, in their match against Board Presidents XI. Rasool is no mystery spinner but can turn the ball, and believes in the orthodox principles of spin bowling, as well as being a more than capable batsman (he was top scorer for his state side). The Pune Warriors snapped him up this season, and it could prove to be a very handy catch.
Sandeep Warrier had an impressive debut season with Kerala, scalping 22 wickets in just five matches. Fortune was on this youngster’s side when he was called up to a nets session with the national team. Life changed for him that day, as an impressed Virat Kohli dialled the think tank of the Royal Challengers Bangalore and had him signed up immediately. A couple of weeks later, he pulled off some brilliant bowling displays for Kerala. Economical and speedy – some suggesting he hits 140 km/h consistently – he seems a very good prospect for India’s future. However, one would have to really wait and see if this exciting youngster makes a mark in the IPL, given the likes of Zaheer Khan, Unadkat, Vinay Kumar, RP Singh and Rampaul all in RCB’s reserves.
Sachin Baby, Kerala’s skipper in limited overs cricket, has made giant strides this year. He didn’t have the best Ranji season, but impressed in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. His batting style bears strong resemblance to that of Suresh Raina’s, and his ability to absorb pressure, as well as his attitude towards the game, makes him a good pick for this format. He was signed by the Rajasthan Royals after his impressive exploits with the bat in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. There is no doubt that Sachin Baby will be one of their main batsmen.
Ishwar Pandey was the leading wicket taker this season in the Ranji Trophy, with 48 wickets from eight matches. His career is rapidly rising upwards at the moment, having played for India A team and been called up to the Indian team’s nets session. Pandey is a bowler who hits the deck hard and bowls with a lot of heart. He is tall, can swing the ball and bowls with a lot of discipline. The only down side to his bowling is his pace. However, he will be looking to form a lethal partnership with Ashok Dinda for the Pune Warriors.
Manprit Juneja was the man in form this season. In all three formats, Juneja has been a class act for Gujarat. In the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, it was mainly Juneja’s batting heroics that won Gujarat the title. Juneja has been signed by the Delhi Daredevils this season. He will prove to be a great buy for Delhi if he is provided with the right opportunities.
Baba Aparajith may not sound like the most conventional of names, but he has been Tamil Nadu cricket’s best find in recent times. He was part of the Unmukt Chand-led Indian U-19 squad last year and was integral in their winning of the World Cup. Following his good show, he was picked to play for Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy, where he impressed as well. He was signed by the Chennai Super Kings for IPL 6 and is a batting all-rounder.
Akshath Reddy is the new household name in Hyderabad cricket. The right-handed batsman idolises Rahul Dravid but compares his style with David Hussey. He has proved that he is capable of playing big innings, and even though he is tailor-made for Test cricket, he can impress in the shorter format as well. Akshath Reddy will feature for the Sunrisers.
Harmeet Singh is another talented player to have emerged from the U-19 squad. One of the few modern spinners who is prepared to offer some flight, Harmeet Singh has often been compared to Bishan Singh Bedi, himself. In his debut season, he picked up 25 wickets at an economy of 2.88 for Mumbai. The Rajasthan Royals will be hoping that he steps up to the plate for them.