Yash Dhull - A superstar in the making

Yash Dhull has sparked into life at the U-19 World Cup (Pic Credits: Times of India)
Yash Dhull has sparked into life at the U-19 World Cup (Pic Credits: Times of India)

2nd February, 2022, India’s U-19 team finds itself in a bit of bother as Yash Dhull strides out to the centre. Prior to his arrival, Angkrish Raghuvanshi and Harnoor Singh have bitten the dust, meaning that the pressure has firmly been piled on Dhull and his deputy Shaik Rasheed.

The pair, for those unaware, had nearly been ruled out of the tournament due to COVID-19. The opening duo, on the other hand, had grown in stature in their absence. So, when the spotlight suddenly turned to Dhull and Rasheed, there was a bit of trepidation among the Indian ranks.

Not because they didn’t believe in their abilities (there’s a reason they are captain and vice-captain, respectively), but because COVID-19 has marred many a promising narrative in the recent past. That they didn’t get a lot of time in the sun in the quarter-finals and the fact that Australia were looking a well-oiled unit, didn’t help their case either.

For a brief while, it seems as if India were wilting under the Aussies’ dominance. Dhull and Rasheed get off to relatively sedate starts and allows the Australian bowlers to turn the screw. After 18.1 overs, the Boys In Blue have only managed 57/2, which on a relatively placid pitch, isn’t particularly ideal.

But then, Dhull flicks a switch – a switch that those in the know-how of north Indian schools’ cricket knew he always had but a reiteration that was needed. Not just to prove to himself that he remains one of the best young Indian batters, but also to show to the rest of the world that he is a superstar in the making.

Wow, that is some comeback from 37-2 to 290-5. There is some serious ability with the bat there. #IndiaUnder19

The boundaries start flowing thereafter. The Australians are guilty of a few loose deliveries but that doesn’t take anything away from the clinic Dhull is putting up. He is shuffling across his stumps, he is creating room for himself, he is coming forward, he is sitting on the back foot, he is throwing his hands at width and most tellingly, he is finding ways to score runs quickly.

After one such stroke, the Aussies throw their head back in despair. From their standpoint, they have done everything possible to keep the Indians and Dhull quiet. But the Indian U-19 skipper refuses to pay heed to that narrative. It wasn’t as if Australia were bad for large stretches. It’s just that Dhull was that good.

Over the past few years, the U-19 ICC Cricket World Cup has been a breeding ground for several talented youngsters. India, in particular, have made it a habit to reach the later stages of the competition and flex the resources at their disposal.

2022 hasn’t been any different. This campaign has seen the emergence of Angkrish Raghuvanshi, Raj Bawa, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Rasheed and Vicky Ostwal. But none have produced as much flair and of course, substance as Dhull.

Yash Dhull produced a sumptuous ton against Australia

Against Australia, all of these qualities came to the fore. The Indian U-19 skipper bided his time at the start – almost in a manner similar to his batting idol Virat Kohli. He waited for his opportunities and when they presented themselves, he pounced.

As the innings ticked along, he picked up his strike rate too and barely allowed the Australian bowlers a moment’s peace. On occasions, he accessed the leg side, whereas on other instances, he was willing to throw the kitchen sink and carve deliveries over the off side.

The impressive bit, though, was he had the bravery and the courage to unfurl his entire repertoire of strokes when India were under the pump. An injudicious shot would’ve cast a billion eyeballs on his mindset and might have even mistaken his languid batting style for someone who just didn’t care. But deep down, he knew that if he batted the way he has been batting all these years, he will just do fine.

The Indian U-19 skipper has looked in fine touch (Pic Credits:
The Indian U-19 skipper has looked in fine touch (Pic Credits:

The aforementioned attribute isn’t very ubiquitous and certainly can’t be bought in a market. It only comes about after a player who has seen ups and downs, realizes what works best for him. Talent is relatively wide-spread, at least in India. Clarity of thought, though, isn’t. Dhull seems to have both, and that alone tells you how special he is.

There is, however, a caveat attached. Dhull, as you might have guessed by now, is not the only cricketer to have made a splash in the U-19 ICC Cricket World Cup.

Those with a slightly better memory will remember that Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja made a name for themselves in the 2008 edition. Shikhar Dhawan blasted 505 runs in 2004. The likes of Ishan Kishan and Rishabh Pant are part of the 2016 batch, while Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill were the headliners in 2020.

All of them, to an extent, have done justice to their talent so far. While Kohli, Jadeja and Pant are certainties for the Indian cricket team across formats, Gill, Ishan and Shaw are considered the ascenders to that throne. Dhawan hasn’t fared badly either.

Thus, the possibility of Dhull propelling himself to greatness is quite real. But this is where things get interesting. There have also been several cricketers who have looked the part in U-19 World Cups before fizzling away quite astonishingly.

The 2018 iteration is remembered for Gill and Shaw’s exploits. Manjot Kalra, though, was the batter who led India to glory in the summit clash against Australia. He creamed a masterful ton and ensured that there were no hiccups. Since that game, though, he has played a grand total of three domestic matches (2 T20s and 1 List A), and has completely fallen off the radar.

Unmukt Chand is another cricketer whose potential was never fulfilled in the Indian cricketing landscape. He seemed to be the next big thing as far as India’s batting stocks were concerned. He got an IPL gig too but flattered to deceive, meaning that he has now moved away from Indian cricket and plies his trade in various franchise leagues.

What an incredibly dominating performance by India U-19. Fourth consecutive final. Wow 🤩 And this time…unlike the last few editions, our team has no first-class cricket experience (due to Covid). Let’s get the 🏆 home 🥳🥳 #U19CWC #INDvAUS

Hence, there isn’t a guarantee that U-19 success directly translates into a burgeoning career. If anything, it places greater scrutiny on whatever a youngster does – something Dhull will have to get accustomed to.

With an IPL Auction round the corner, there is no denying that teams will be queuing up for his acquisition. There is nothing wrong with it either. But whichever IPL outfit snaps him up must remember that Dhull, despite portraying maturity way beyond his years, is still only 19.

Dhull has fought back against COVID-19, held his own against top-drawer bowling attacks and has cast himself as a worthy heir to some of India’s most illustrious batters. But at this point, he will also be prone to the odd lapses in concentration, the odd missteps and of course, bouts of rash decision-making.

He is a superstar waiting to be unleashed, make no mistake about it. Yet, he is also someone who needs to be given time to develop to the best of his abilities. There may be a temptation to rush him into the scheme of things (understandably so) but Dhull, barring any catastrophic injuries and drop in form, is going to be around for quite a while.

Dhull has character, he has talent and he seems to have the work-rate to back it up too. All he needs now is a bit of patience from those nurturing him. If that happens, it might not be long before he becomes a household name – just like Dhawan Kohli, Jadeja and Pant.

Get the IND vs NZ Live Score for the 3rd ODI and follow Sportskeeda for all the latest Cricket News.

Quick Links

Edited by Prasen Moudgal
Be the first one to comment