The independent voice of cricket

Series Editorial

Who is Himanshu Sharma, the unknown RCB leg-spinner scouted with the help of AI who hasn’t played any professional cricket?

Who is Himansu Sharma, the RCB leg-spinner in IPL 2023?
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read
Image credits: RCB/YouTube

Royal Challengers Bangalore drafted in the uncapped leg-spinner Himanshu Sharma against Gujarat Titans, in the final league match of IPL 2023 – here’s all you need to know about the 24-year-old leggie making his Indian Premier League debut.

The big debut

For their must-win match against Gujarat Titans, postponed by rain, RCB listed the unknown Himanshu Sharma as one of their Impact Player subs, replacing fellow leggie Karn Sharma in the playing list. Interestingly, Himanshu is yet to play a professional match. He is primarily a leg-spinner who can spin the ball both ways.

Himanshu was named one of the five Impact Player subs alongside Suyash Prabhudessai, Finn Allen, Sonu Yadav and Akash Deep.


How RCB bought Himanshu Sharma

Himanshu was first sighted by the RCB scouting team as part of their “Hinterland Scouting” system a year ahead of the IPL 2023 auction. The system uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to pick talents from several little-known areas of the country.

He was invited by the franchise for the RCB camp that featured existing RCB players even before he was actually purchased at the auction. At the camp, he was tested by head coach Sanjay Bangar and spin-bowling coach Sridharan Sriram, and was eventually picked at the auction for INR 20 lakh.

“Himanshu is exciting in a way because… he is from Rajasthan, club-level cricketer,” Malolan Rangarajan, the head of RCB’s scouting, said in December after the auction purchase. “He has not played any competitive cricket. But he is extremely skilled. We’re kind of looking into the future also, but knowing we will develop him”.

Ahead of his debut match, Himanshu was spotted bowling on practice pitches alongside Wanindu Hasaranga, Harshal Patel and Glenn Maxwell. A clear highlight was his ability to get plenty of turn on the ball in both directions.

Not everyone was happy with Himanshu’s signing though. After the auction, former India cricketer Dodda Ganesh questioned RCB’s tactics, asking why they bought the unknown Himanshu over a trusted domestic name like Shreyas Gopal.

Early days

Himanshu hails from Sikar, a small town in Rajasthan about 100km from Jaipur. He started playing in Sikar but moved to Jaipur to pursue serious cricket. He initially wanted to become a batter, and idolised AB de Villiers, before switching to bowling.

As with little-known players, there’s a bit of confusion over his exact date of birth. His IPL website profile puts his date of birth as 06 June 1998, while the Royal Challengers Bangalore website mentions it to be 01 November 1998.

He’s not played any district, or state-level cricket, and only started playing cricket seriously in 2017. His father was a state-level volleyball player before becoming a teacher.

In a recent interview, he revealed that Virat Kohli is his current favourite cricketer, and has been following RCB since the inaugural season in 2008. For bowling, he idolises Shane Warne.

The quote

“Keep working hard, keep toiling. Things will happen,” Himashu said in an interview. “I kept working hard, never knew [this would happen]. I never played district or state – now directly playing in the IPL. Keep working hard.”

Have Your Say

Become a Wisden member

  • Exclusive offers and competitions
  • Money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Join the Wisden community
  • Sign up for free
Latest magazine

Get the magazine

12 Issues for just £39.99