Indian cricket, over the years, has built up a strong domestic setup which forms a steady and uninterrupted pipeline for the national team. This elaborate domestic framework with tournaments in all formats across various age groups helps provide the Indian senior team with a rich talent pool to pick from whenever the need arises.
While the current squad is a star-studded one with big names adorning almost every position, several rough diamonds are also waiting on the wings for an opportunity to prove themselves worthy of the Blue stripes. With the World T20 scheduled for later this year, we look at three prospects who have excelled domestically in recent years and have made a strong case for an inclusion into the senior squad in the shortest format of the game.
The Mumbai batsman has been setting the domestic circuit on fire with his consistent batting. The right-hander was the highest-scorer for Mumbai and third-highest overall with 392 runs in the last season of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the domestic T20 championship.
The Mumbai Indians opener has also justified his hefty price tag of INR 3.2 crores in the Indian Premier League with his hard-hitting style, especially of the new ball. In his last two editions of the IPL, Yadav has notched up 512 and 424 runs respectively, ending as the second-highest run-getter overall for Mumbai Indians.
The 29-year-old was part of the India A team that toured New Zealand in January, taking him one step closer to the ultimate goal of playing for the senior team. With the experience of 149 T20s and stats that speak volumes of his talent, he is sure to be in the selector’s radar in the coming years.
The Karnataka all-rounder has been knocking on the door for quite some time now. He gave a glimpse of his talent in a Karnataka Premier League match, scoring a lightning-fast 134 off just 56 balls. He then scalped 8 wickets in the same match, taking his team to an emphatic 70 run win.
134* in a T20 game is excellent.
8 wickets in 4 overs is extraordinary. K Gowtham has done both in one game. That’s unreal. 😱 #KPL
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) August 23, 2019
Rajasthan Royals shelled out a whopping INR 6.2 crores to pick Gowhtam in the 2018 IPL auctions. He has bailed out his team in crunch situations on multiple occasions and even scored a memorable 33 in just 11 deliveries against his former team Mumbai Indians to help the Royals to a memorable victory. The 31-year-old was recently traded to Kings XI Punjab for the 13th edition of the IPL.
Gowtham’s superb ability to deliver with both bat and ball makes him a perfect fit in the lower-middle order of the Indian team.
Another Karnataka cricketer who has impressed everyone is 26-year-old Shreyas Gopal. Shreyas was the wrecker-in-chief for Rajasthan Royals as he picked 20 wickets at an economy of just above 7 in the last season of the IPL. Armed with lethal googlies and intelligent sliders, Gopal is a handful for any batting line-up on his day.
The leg-spinner was instrumental in Karnataka’s Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy-winning campaign in 2019. He finished as the second-highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 19 dismissals in 12 games.
The wrist-spinner can also be a handy batsman with useful cameos every now and then. He is one of the best T20 spinners of the country at the moment and it won’t be a surprise if he were to replace the current spinners of the Indian team – Yuzvendra Chahal or Kuldeep Yadav.
By Sportz Interactive