Shoaib Akhtar is known to speak his mind and heart out. During commentary in the game between the Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab, the Rawalpindi express was full of praise for the in form Mayank Agarwal looking on his own against the pace of Mitchell Johnson. Akhtar said that the Indian youngsters were sure to benefit from this IPL experience as they are already accustomed to the standards set by their international counterparts in the tournament. So when these players go on to play for their country in the near future they would not feel out of place and can handle the pressure well. Thus making the transition to the highest level a much easier one.
Well said Mr. Akhtar.
Testimony to his opinion, the IPL has indeed sprung up some very impressive home grown talent and they have proved their mettle. Today we look at 5 domestic players in the IPL who can make the Indian team right now.
1. Mayank Agarwal: Mayank Agarwal first came into the limelight when he blasted his way to an unbeaten 64 of just 30 balls in IPL 5 playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Agarwal looked at ease against the pace of Malinga and company and one could identify the talent that this man possessed. Picked up by the Delhi Daredevils last season he has finally proved his worth when he took his team to an impressive win with another impressive knock of 68 runs. He definitely has the potential to make it to the highest level.
2. Manish Pandey: Pandey hogged the headlines very early in his IPL career when he became the first man from India to score a century in the IPL: he scored a magnificent 114 not out against the Deccan Chargers playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2009. The man from Karnataka had one of his finest seasons in the IPL last season when he scored over 400 runs for Kolkata Knight Riders, thus helping them lift the coveted trophy for the second time. One of the best batsmen in the Indian domestic circuit, the day is not too far when he will be seen donning India colours.
3. Sanju Samson: The talented wicketkeeper-batsman is in line to take over the reins from MS Dhoni as India’s next man behind the stumps. Samson was picked in the Indian squad for the one day matches played against England last year but he did not make his national debut. Playing for the Rajasthan Royals the little man has done his reputation no harm whatsoever when he scored an aggregate of 339 runs at a strike rate of 124 last season. Not only us but Indian legend Rahul Dravid has picked this man for greatness in the coming years for his country.
4. Deepak Hooda: This 19 year old prodigy was picked up for just 40 lakhs by the Rajasthan Royals in this year’s auction and he has been worth every penny for the franchise. An attacking batsman to the core and also adept in bowling right arm off spin, the boy wonder from Rohtak has become a household sensation in this year’s IPL. With a scintillating knock of 54 against the Daredevils and a quickfire 30 against the Kings XI, Hooda has shown the necessary temperament required to succeed at the highest level. With many years of cricket left ahead of him this man is a definite pick in the Indian team.
5. Manan Vohra: Easily one of the finest timers of the ball in the Indian domestic set up, Manan Vohra is destined to play for his country sooner or later. Playing for the Kings XI in the IPL and Punjab in the Ranji trophy Vohra had an impressive season last year when he scored 324 runs in just 8 innings at a strike rate of 139 and a mind boggling average of 40! Vohra looks like the kind suited for all formats of the game and is a potential answer to India’s opening woes.
One just hopes that these players do justice to their talent and make even bigger waves in the times to come. Playing for the country is afterall any cricketer’s dream.
By Ashirbad Hazarika