Ever since its inception in the year 2008, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been known to provide a never seen before platform to shine for the lesser known and young players across the globe. Other than providing an opportunity to youngsters to showcase their skills on the biggest of stages and rub shoulders with established stalwarts of the game like Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle.
Many current superstars like Glenn Maxwell, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, David Warner, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Faf du Plessis have used the IPL stage to get a head-start in their respective international careers.
Like every year, IPL 2018 has also witnessed the growth and rise of some young stars who have the potential to become household names in the near future.
Here, we list down 5 such young stars who have impressed the most in IPL 2018:
Note: Players who are 20 years of age or below and have never represented their country have only been considered while compiling this list.
1. Mayank Markande (Mumbai Indians)
In what has been a disappointing campaign for defending champions Mumbai Indians, young Mayank Markande has emerged as a rare shining light in their season. The Punjab leg-spinner has been one of the finds of IPL 2018, impressing fans and pundits alike with his googlies and variations against the best of batsmen. Playing in his maiden IPL campaign, Markande has bowled well for Mumbai Indians in almost every game after making a fantastic debut against Chennai Super Kings picking three wickets, which included the prized scalps of MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu. He followed it up with yet another superlative display against Sunrisers Hyderabad, where he picked up 4 key wickets.
The 20-year-old has played 8 matches in the tournament so far, picking up 11 wickets at an economy rate of 7.73. Bought in at his base price of INR 20 lakh at the players auction in January, Markande is currently the joint second-highest wicket taker in IPL 2018 and has certainly been one of the most impressive youngsters on show this season.
2. Prithvi Shaw (Delhi Daredevils)
Destined for big things ever since he cracked a record-breaking 546 runs in an innings in Mumbai’s Harris Shield tournament as a 15-year-old, Prithvi Shaw seems to have arrived on the big stage after a successful Under-19 World Cup campaign in New Zealand earlier this year. Shaw had to bide his time on the bench in the first five games of the tournament as skipper Gautam Gambhir was opening the innings for Delhi Daredevils. Gambhir has since resigned as captain and has also stepped down from the playing XI, giving young Shaw a chance to seize his opportunity and shine on the big stage.
The 19-year-old has been in stunning form and has rarely looked overawed while facing world class bowlers in IPL 2018. Shaw has amassed 140 runs in his 4 outings so far at an average of 35 and a strike-rate of 167. The youngster scored a brilliant half-century in the match against Kolkata Knight Riders and has received praise from several quarters. Shaw has remarkably also displayed the elegance of the legendary Sachin Tendulkar in some of his shots and will certainly be a player to watch out for in the near future.
3. Ishan Kishan (Mumbai Indians)
Another player who has been a ray of spark in Mumbai Indians‘ disappointing campaign is Ishan Kishan as the young keeper-batsman has impressed everyone with his fearless stroke-play and approach to game. Signed up for an eye-catching INR 6.20 crores, Kishan has been good touch with the bat and has scored 151 runs in 6 innings so far, at a strike rate of 141.12. His partnerships with Suryakumar Yadav at the top of Mumbai’s batting lineup have been a joy to watch so far. Like Prithvi Shaw, Kishan has also captained the Indian U-19 team in the past as he led his side to the final of junior World Cup in 2016 under Rahul Dravid’s guidance.
Another thing which has particularly caught the eye about Kishan is that even after suffering from a freakish eye injury in the field against Royal Challengers Bangalore, he walked in to bat in the next match against Rajasthan Royals and scored a fluent half-century to further his side’s cause. It has to be said that Ishan Kishan’s style of attacking cricket suits the shortest format of the game perfectly. Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma will be hoping that Kishan can his good form and can transform himself into a consistent performer for the franchise in the upcoming games.
4. Shubman Gill (Kolkata Knight Riders)
The chief architect of India’s recent U-19 World Cup win in New Zealand, Shubman Gill was identified as one of the young players to watch out for in this year’s IPL after being signed up by the Kolkata Knight Riders for INR 1.80 crore at the mega players auction in January. The 18-year-old scored 372 runs in 5 matches at a staggering average of 124 in the World Cup, while also scoring a half-century in his every outing with the bat barring the final against Australia.
Moving on his IPL campaign so far, the young Punjab batsman couldn’t contribute much batting at the No.7 slot in his first few appearances. After being promoted higher up the order, Gill has well and truly shown his class in KKR’s last couple of games, including a match-winning half-century while chasing against MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings. After a slow start to life in the IPL, the general consensus is that Gill is one for the future and can be seen lighting up the tournament in two years’ time. Not to say that he has been poor by any means this season!
5. Shivam Mavi (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Shivam Mavi is another young talent who was an integral part of the India’s U-19 World Cup winning squad and has been nurtured under the careful supervision of the legendary Rahul Dravid. Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders had a clear strategy of going for uncapped local talent at the players auction and Mavi, along with fellow young pacer Kamlesh Nagarkoti was a part of this plan. Not many expected the 19-year-old to get much game this in IPL 2018 but injuries to Mitchell Starc and Kamlesh Nagarkoti, coupled with veteran Vinay Kumar’s poor form have propelled Shivam Mavi into the spotlight which the youngster is clearly enjoying.
While he has only picked up 3 wickets in the tournament so far and has been expensive on a few occasions, Mavi’s raw pace and energy have been heartening to watch for KKR fans. His ability to consistently clock speeds in the range of 140 kmph has been particularly impressive and many batsmen have found facing his in-swingers a particularly challenging task. Shivam Mavi deserves a place in this list of young stars who have impressed the most in this year’s tournament so far.