The annual Indian Premier League falls under the category of ‘sportainment’ and is enjoyed by everybody, irrespective of gender, age or any other factor. Apart from bringing together the world’s best players under one roof, the IPL also throws up exciting, young talent. In that sense, the League has lived up to the message engraved in Sanskrit on the trophy which is presented to the victorious team at the end of the season. "Yatra Pratibha Avsara Prapnotihi" translates to "where talent meets opportunity."
Quite a few players have been inducted into the national cricket team after a successful IPL season. Players like Ravichandran Ashwin, Yusuf Pathan, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal and Jasprit Bumrah are gems whose performances in the IPL had a lot to do with their selection in the Indian team. IPL 2020 has been no exception, in that it has witnessed outstanding performances by players who represent the future of cricket in India.
Devdutt Padikkal was roped in by Royal Challengers Bangalore. He is a left-handed batsman who has been making huge waves on the Karnataka cricket circuit and he has also played in the U-19 World Cup. The top scorer in both the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and the Vijay Hazare Trophy in the 2019-20 season, he bats with class and confidence. He has been outstanding in this IPL season, so far, with three fifties to his name already.
Ravi Bishnoi represents Rajasthan in domestic cricket and Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2020. He was the highest wicket-taker in the U-19 World Cup earlier this year. His debut in this season of the IPL has been nothing short of thrilling. He dismissed Rishabh Pant in the match against Delhi Capitals and took three wickets against RCB, four days later.
Priyam Garg, who led India in the U-19 World Cup 2020, represents Sun Risers Hyderabad. In the recent game between Chennai Super Kings and the Sun Risers, Kane Williamson lost his cool after being run out in a misunderstanding with him. However, I felt that Garg made the right call in refusing the single. He did not let the run-out faze him and went on to complete his maiden fifty in the competition. Garg is a composed character and he could well be the surprise package of this season.
Yashwavi Jaiswal, a class performer at the U-19 level, is a part of the Rajasthan Royals squad. He has had an incredible journey and is known to be a performer under pressure. India has high expectations from him and he is bound to thrive under the leadership of Steven Smith.
Players like Prithvi Shaw, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill and Kartik Tyagi are other young talents from whom we can expect wonders. In the past, we have seen the likes of Mohit Sharma, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant make a mark of their own and serve their respective teams with distinction, in the IPL. It is a great sign for Indian cricket that we have players as accomplished as these, waiting in the wings. I have no doubt that most of these players, if not all, will do the country proud in much the same way as they are presently doing their respective IPL Franchises proud. I wish them all the best. May these uncapped cricketers make the most of the opportunities given to them and go on to attain greater glory in the days and years to come.
The writer is former Indian cricketer, also founder director of International Instituteof Sports Management