When the Indian Premier League made its debut in 2008, no one would have foreseen the widespread popularity and enormous fan base that the tournament generated. This feeling only continues to grow as its 11th edition gears up with player auctions.
Unlike previous seasons, where teams competed aggressively to bag experienced players in their kitty, this year’s bidding displayed a lateral shift unlike anything before.
With franchises vehemently bidding for uncapped and fresher talents, IPL 2018 will witness some of the youngest cricketers from the country battling on the field with seasoned players from across the world.
Despite their young years, these players have wowed the world with their phenomenal form and consistent performance in the international arena, especially in the on-going ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup.
Here are five rising stars you need to look out for this IPL season!
1. Prithvi Shaw
Captain of the U-19 national team, 18-year-old Prithvi is a Thane boy who has been playing cricket since he was three. He has smoothly led the team to the finals with spectacular wins over Australia, Papua New Guinea, Zimbabwe, South Africa and now Pakistan. Apart from that, Prithvi showcased an impressive performance during the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy season with a cumulative score of 537 runs from six matches that included three centuries. It is no wonder that the Delhi Daredevils left no stones unturned while bidding for Prithvi and sealed the deal at ₹1.2 crore.
2. Kamlesh Nagarkoti
When his name was up for bidding at the IPL auction, Barmer’s Kamlesh Nagarkoti had been sitting in the washroom, unable to deal with his anxiety. Little did he know that he would end up becoming the costliest player from the U-19 team to be bought by an IPL franchise.
Son of a Subedar in the Indian Army, Kamlesh has been setting the field on fire with his pace and has turned many heads with his outstanding fielding skills at the World Cup. Starting at a base price of ₹20 lakhs, Kolkata Knight Riders stole the Rajasthan lad after a fierce bidding battle between franchises.
The final bid was an eye-popping ₹3.2 crore.
3. Shubham Gill
Known for his proclivity for big runs, 18-year-old Shubham was rightfully named the vice-captain for the 2018 U-19 World Cup, after impressing the selection committee with an astounding track record during the 2017 Ranji Trophy season as well as his under-16 days.
A constant under Rahul Dravid’s stewardship, the Punjab boy had the unique privilege of sharing the stage with his hero Virat Kohli twice when he received the BCCI award for the best junior cricketer consecutively in 2013-14 and 2014-15. While Delhi Daredevils tried their level best to sweep Shubham into their team, he was finally acquired by Kolkata Knight Riders at ₹1.8 crore.
4. Shivam Mavi
Another amazing U-19 cricketer to be clinched by Kolkata Knight Riders is the fast bowling speed gun Shivam Mavi. Son of a government contractor, the Noida Sector 71 boy has emerged to be a total revelation in the World Cup tournament currently being held in New Zealand. He stunned the crowds by claiming eight wickets at an average of 14 runs in just four games, besides an insane bowling speed of over 144 km per hour.
Observed to have provided India early breakthroughs, the young man is the second highest-bid player from the auction with a fat paycheque of ₹3 crore to his name.
5. Abhishek Sharma
Entering the IPL U-19 lot is Abhishek Sharma from Amritsar, who made his first-class debut for Punjab in the Ranji Trophy last year. Impressing the national selection committee with a notable track record, Abhishek found his way to the U-19 national cricket team in December 2017. However, it was Abhishek and Shubham Gill’s measured partnership during a particularly difficult match against Bangladesh in the World Cup that may be a crucial achievement for the former in his career.
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Their batting credentials played a significant role in leading India to the semi-finals. This could have been a sole reason why the 17-year-old was amongst the youngest cricketers on the radar of the franchises in the IPL auction.
Following a tough fight between Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad, Abhishek was finally bought by the former franchise at ₹55 lakhs.
Two other U-19 cricketers who have made it to the 11th edition of IPL are Manjot Kalra and Anukul Roy, who have been bought for ₹20 lakh each by Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians, respectively.