Arms opened wide, bat up in the air and a broad smile on his face, 23-year old Nitish Rana brought up his second fifty of the IPL in style as over 18000 children chanted his name at the Wankhede. Performing on the big stage is what every cricketer dreams of doing. Numerous sessions of throw downs in the nets and hours spent in the gym seem worth it when one is able to perform at the highest level. As the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League has been underway, there have been a few noticeable trends such as the dominance of leg-spinners, teams opting to use horses for courses rather than play a settled XI and most importantly, the rise of the domestic Indian players.
Look at Rana and the Pandya brothers for Mumbai, Sanju Samson for Delhi, Axar Patel for Punjab or Kuldeep Yadav for Kolkata. Teams are starting to depend a lot more on the domestic Indian talent than international stars. Rahul Tripathi, Rahul Chahar and Shardul Thakur are looking good for the struggling Pune Supergiants and trying hard to keep them afloat. The IPL has a record of throwing up some new names out there every season. One can’t help but think of Ravichandran Ashwin who rose through the Chennai Super Kings ranks to make his way into the Indian team and go on to dominate Test cricket. This has only been made possible because these cricketers have the chance to spend two months with the biggest names in the game and learn from them.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Krunal Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav are seriously considered when the selectors sit down to decide the team that will travel to England for the Champions Trophy in June. The tournament is almost at the end of its second week and there are these names already doing the rounds and one can only imagine how many more names are thrown into the ring by the 21st of May.