Three debutants who have lit up the stage

S. Dinakar
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Sanju Vishwanadh.— Photo: R.V. Moorthy
Sanju Vishwanadh.— Photo: R.V. Moorthy

The cover-drive was a flowing one. Next, the teenager innovated to direct a delivery on the off-stump to the fine-leg fence.

Sanju Vishwanadh, just 18, from Kerala, has the potential to become a breakthrough star.

His performance for Rajasthan Royals in IPL-VI has brought him into the limelight. He has made runs at the crunch and has been fearless.

Speaking to The Hindu , Indian batting legend and Rajasthan Royals captain Rahul Dravid said: “He is a good back-foot player. And he has shots all round the wicket.”

Dravid’s comment about Sanju being a sound back-foot player is significant because too many young Indian batsmen are forced to become predominantly front-foot players due to the pitches here and consequently suffer when coping with tracks with more bounce.

Pat from Dravid

The former India captain was appreciative of Sanju’s temperament. Dravid said: “We have sent him in at crucial stages. He has not been daunted either by the situation or the opposition. He is such a natural player.”

Indeed, Sanju has made things happen at the death. His 140 runs in five matches have come at 46.66 with a telling strike-rate of 132.07. Yet, will too much of Twenty20 cricket consume this precious talent?

“I do not think so,” replied Dravid. “He has made runs in the Ranji Trophy and can evolve as a batsman,” he added.

Samson has notched up two centuries in his seven appearances for Kerala. He has an elaborate back-lift and possesses the gift of timing.

The IPL might not be the best competition to judge talent but does provide a platform for youngsters to express themselves, get noticed.

Mohit lends balance

Chennai Super King’s Mohit Sharma too has certainly made an impression.

He brings with him the old fashioned values of a pace bowler.

The 24-year-old has lent CSK, which was missing a strong domestic seamer, the right balance.

Mohit has an easy, fluent run-up, a side-on release and an excellent follow through.

He has an effective out-swinger but does mix things up and can surprise batsmen with well-directed short-pitched deliveries.

In nine matches for CSK, Mohit has scalped 11 batsmen at an economy rate of 6.10.

Bowling around the 135 kmph mark, Mohit has a calm head. He has a worthy first class record too playing for Haryana, picking up 44 wickets in 11 games at 24.65.

Quality leg-spinner

Karan Sharma of Sunrisers Hyderabad is another youngster who has done well.

Leg-spin is a difficult art and the margin for error in the abbreviated form of the game is very little.

Yet, the control with which the 25-year-old has bowled has been outstanding.

He has spun his leg-spinners and sent down the ‘wrong ’uns’ with precision.

Karan has only five wickets from seven matches but his economy rate of 5.59 has enabled Sunrisers build pressure.

Given his attributes, Karan, who represents Railways in domestic cricket, has possibilities for the longer format too.

  • Sanju is a natural player, says Dravid

  • Mohit Sharma lends the right balance for CSK

  • Karan Sharma’s economy rate has enabled Sunrisers build pressure

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