The Indian Premier League has revolutionized the sport of Cricket, especially in India, with youngsters getting the sort of international platform they never had earlier, to showcase their talents alongside some of the best players in the world.
A testament to that fact would be the emergence of Virat Kohli, probably the best batsman in the world, who was already a highly rated teenager back in 2008 but it was his consistency in the IPL which brought him international recognition, and kickstarted his career from there. Similarly, many other top Indian players benefited from the rule that every team has to play with at least 7 Indian players in the starting 11 of every match, ensuring plenty of representation from the youth.
Every season, we have a few youngsters who have breakthrough seasons in the IPL, and eventually that leads them to the path of the national team. So, let’s take a look at some of the best under-23 Indian players to watch out for in the 2020 Indian Premier League.
10. Priyam Garg – Sunrisers Hyderabad
The newly appointed captain of the Under 19 Indian side which participated in the 2020 World Cup in South Africa, Priyam Garg was another highly rated teenager who triggered a bidding war at the auction table. The 19 year old fetched a solid sum of Rs. 1.9 crores as Sunrisers Hyderabad secured his signature after an intense tussle with Kings XI Punjab. Garg came into prominence after an impressive 2018-19 Ranji Trophy season for Uttar Pradesh, where he scored 814 runs in 10 matches.
Garg is seen as a future captain, and was also named as the captain of the Under-23 Indian side last year, despite being one of the youngest players in the squad. With SRH highly dependent on their ridiculously impressive top order, Garg can fit perfectly in their middle order and will have more than enough opportunities to make his mark.
Sunrisers Hyderabad are 3rd favourites to win the title at 5.50 (Betway), and a weak
Indian middle order is one of their main weaknesses. However Garg can fill that slot
perfectly and may increase their chances of winning the title. Bet on Sunrisers Hyderabad to win the title here:
9. Yashasvi Jaiswal – Rajasthan Royals
Arguably the highest rated teenager in Indian Cricket currently, 18-year-old Yashasvi Jaiswal has the world at his feet. He was one of the most highly anticipated names at the auction, and his bidding war lived up to the hype, with Rajasthan Royals continuing their tradition of placing their faith in young players, as they purchased him for Rs. 2.4 crores, a princely sum for an 18-year-old.
Jaiswal ended up as the top scorer at the Under 19 World Cup earlier this year, with 400 runs in just 6 innings, also winning the player of the series award in the process. He is also the youngest cricketer in the world to score a List A double century, when he smashed 203 off 154 balls against Jharkand. A classic rags-to-riches story as he once sold Paani Puri on the streets for a living, big things are expected from this brilliant young batsman.
Jaiswal’s form could directly have an impact for Rajasthan Royals’ season, as currently they are favourites to finish bottom of the table with Betway displaying odds of 4.00. Bet on Rajasthan Royals to finish bottom here:
8. R.Sai Kishore – Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings aren’t exactly known to give youth a chance, traditionally preferring to trust experience over youth. They have always had the highest average age out of every squad in every season of the IPL. Most of their players are on the other side of 30 and have consistently driven them towards tremendous success.
However, this season CSK look like they are aiming to change their long-term strategy, with a focus on young players this time leading to the purchase of 21-year-old Sam Curran and also local Chennai lad R Sai Kishore for a mere Rs. 20 lakhs. The young left-arm Chinaman is one of the highest rated players in the Tamil Nadu domestic setup, and had a brilliant season in 2019/20.
He is one of the most successful bowlers in the Tamil Nadu Premier League, and also finished as the highest wicket taker in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 trophy, with 20 wickets in just 12 matches to take Tamil Nadu all the way to the final. His economy rate of just 4.63 is the best ever in that tournament’s history and he has also consistently performed in the Vijay Hazare trophy as well as the Ranji Trophy, and looks like a brilliant young prospect to strengthen the Super Kings in the upcoming season.
Chennai are second-favourites to win the title with odds of 5.50 according to Betway, and might need the wizardry of Sai Kishore to help them cross the final line which they failed to do last season. Bet on Chennai Super Kings to win the title here:
7. Ravi Bishnoi – Kings XI Punjab
One of the finest young, up and coming spinners in Indian Cricket, Kings XI Punjab pulled off a major coup by winning their bidding war against Mumbai Indians to secure the services of Ravi Bishnoi for a price of Rs. 2 crores. The teenager ended up as the highest wicket-taker in the Under 19 World Cup, with 17 wickets in just 6 matches, at an alarmingly impressive economy rate of 3.48.
The leg spinner is already famous for his variations and is deemed as very difficult to score against. Out of all the other uncapped players on this list, Bishnoi might get to experience maximum game time this time as Punjab have a dearth of quality spinners. The departure of Ravi Ashwin means they are short in that department, while playing Mujeeb Rahman might affect their overseas player combination. Hence, this is a huge chance for Ravi Bishnoi to announce himself on the big stage and join an ever-increasing list of young and talented leg spinners emerging out of the Indian domestic circuit.
Kings XI Punjab are second favourites to finish bottom of the table at 5.50 as per Betway, however youngsters such as Bishnoi can turn their fortunes around and hope for a much better outcome. Bet on Kings XI Punjab to finish bottom here:
6. Mayank Markande – Rajasthan Royals
Mayank Markande exploded on the IPL scene back in 2018, when the then 20-year-old fearlessly squared up against some of the most prominent batsmen in the world and caused them a lot of trouble. The leg-spinner wowed audiences with his remarkable variations and unpredictability, notching up 15 wickets in his debut season, and also becoming the 3rd youngest IPL player ever to take 4 wickets in a match.
He is also one of the only players in IPL history to have been traded twice in the same IPL window, as Delhi Capitals took him from Mumbai Indians and then traded him to Rajasthan Royals for Ajinkya Rahane in return. Injuries restricted him to just 3 matches last season, but he would be looking to establish himself as a key starter for the Royals in the upcoming season.
The Rajasthan Royals are actually favourites to finish bottom of the league, with odds of 4.00 as per Betway. Markande and the other youngsters really need to step up to avoid that humiliation. Bet on Rajasthan Royals to finish bottom here:
5. Washington Sundar – Royal Challengers Bangalore
20-year-old Washington Sundar is one of the few Indian youngsters who have truly used the IPL platform to kickstart his international career with the senior team. Remarkably, at such a young age, he has already played more T20 international matches for India than the number of matches he has played in the IPL.
In his debut campaign, he replaced the legendary Ashwin for Rising Pune Supergiants, and took 8 wickets in the last 11 matches of the season, while also proving to be handy with the bat. He has had an inconsistent run in the IPL ever since, but with age on his as well as plenty of international experience, Washington Sundar is definitely a top prospect to keep an eye on, with the bat as well as ball.
RCB have struggled in recent years and are 2.00 outsiders to finish in the top 4, with huge expectations on the likes of Sundar to handle the lower batting order in order to help them qualify. Bet on Royal Challengers Bangalore to finish in the top 4 here:
4. Ishan Kishan – Mumbai Indians
Ishan Kishan made waves in the cricket world when he captained the Indian Under 19 team all the way to the final in the 2016 Under 19 World Cup. An attacking batsman originating from Jharkhand who also happens to be a wicket keeper, no we are not talking about MS Dhoni here, but his prodigy Ishan Kishan, who has managed to somewhat cement his place in a star-studded Mumbai Indians lineup, automatically emerging as one of the most popular and jovial young personalities in Indian sport.
Purchased for a mammoth Rs. 5.5 crores back in 2017, Ishan scored over 550 runs in his first two seasons for MI, regularly contributing with the bat in the middle order and being equally adept behind the stumps. His match-winning innings of 62 off just 21 balls against the Kolkata Knight Riders is best remembered for his 4 consecutive sixes off experienced bowler Kuldeep Yadav, again proving his big game mentality. At just 22 years of age, his best years are still ahead of him and he would be looking to stay grounded and make the most of his talent.
With Mumbai Indians the favourites to win the title at 5.00 (Betway), Kishan could play a pivotal role in ensuring they live up to the expectations. Bet on Mumbai Indians to win the title here:
3. Prithvi Shaw – Delhi Capitals
A 5 feet 5 inches tall Mumbaikar, using an MRF bat, dispatching some of the best bowlers in the world away with impeccable timing at the age of 17. Where have we heard all of this before? It’s true, Prithvi Shaw’s story as well as rise mirrors that of the great Sachin Tendulkar in more ways than one.
Already a big-game player at the age of 20, Prithvi Shaw has the distinction of scoring a century on his Ranji debut, his Duleep Trophy debut, and now even his test debut in 2018, making him the youngest Indian to achieve that feat. Shaw captained the Indian side to a brilliant Under 19 World Cup title, as he led by example, finishing with 261 runs and a handsome average of 65, with 2 half centuries.
He has already clocked 600 runs in the last 2 seasons as Delhi’s opener, including a highest score of 99 as he agonizingly fell short of a maiden century last season. With a strike rate of 141, Shaw is expected to open the Delhi Capitals batting for years to come, and is a key component of their famed Indian batting core.
Delhi are expected to qualify for the play-offs again this season, with odds of 1.83 for them to finish in the top 4, as per Betway, and they will need Shaw at his consistent best for that to happen. Bet on Delhi Capitals to finish in the top 4 here:
2. Shubman Gill – Kolkata Knight Riders
One of the brightest young Indian talents out there, Shubman Gill has impressed almost everyone associated with the game in the last 2 years. Gill had been making headlines ever since he was a young boy, winning back to back ‘BCCI Junior Cricketer’ awards in 2014 and 2015, and followed that up with a very prolific record in several youth ODI series.
Gill truly emerged on the big scene after he was adjudged as the player of the tournament at the 2018 Under 19 Cricket World Cup, where he smashed 418 runs at a mind-blowing average of 104.50, as India cruised to a record 4th title. He was the vice-captain of the team and outscored his captain Prithvi Shaw by a considerable margin, batting at number 3. This performance made him a favourite at the 2018 IPL auction and he was snapped up for a fee of Rs 1.8 crores by Kolkata Knight Riders.
He had a reasonably decent first season with the Knight Riders as he scored more than 200 runs at an average of 33.83, despite playing out of position as a lower order batsman. His form did not go unnoticed though, and he soon made his debut for the senior Indian team. The 2019 season saw him bat at his preferred number 3 spot, and the difference was noticeable, as he clocked nearly 300 runs and is considered a very important part of KKR’s top order now.
As per Betway, KKR are 1.80 to qualify for the play-offs, and the presence of Gill in the middle order has a big role to play for those favourable odds. Bet on Kolkata Knight Riders to qualify for the play-offs here:
1. Rishabh Pant – Delhi Capitals
At the age of 22, Rishabh Pant is already one of the most popular cricketers in India, and has already seen almost all the highs and lows the game has to offer. The swashbuckling keeper-batsman first emerged on the big scene when he lit up the 2016 Under 19 World Cup, where he scored the fastest half-century of the tournament on his way to a 24-ball blitzkrieg, as he notched 75 against Nepal.
He followed it up with a brilliant century in the very next game, and though India lost the final, the superstar we know as Rishabh Pant had well and truly arrived. He was soon called up to the senior T20 squad when he was 19, and within a year had already made his ODI and Test debuts. Despite being just 18 at the time, Pant fetched a price of Rs. 1.9 crores in 2016, which will definitely go down as the best 1.9 crores the Delhi Capitals have ever spent.
Pant has played some of the most memorable innings the IPL has ever seen, including a blinding 97 against the Gujarat Lions. But the one innings which truly made the world stand up and notice this destructive young batsman was his 128 against Sunrisers Hyderabad. SRH are often regarded as the best bowling side in the league but the way the young left handed took the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar apart, will never be forgotten by purists of the game. Pant is widely regarded as MS Dhoni’s long term successor as India’s wicket keeper in all 3 formats of the game, and is well on course to do exactly that.
The Delhi Capitals are expected to qualify for the play-offs at the very least, with odds of 1.83 as per Betway. However, they are also considered outsiders for the league title (7.50), and if Pant realizes his full potential, he can surely take them all the way towards their maiden IPL title. Bet on Delhi Capitals to win the title here: