The independent voice of cricket


Eight uncapped Indian players to keep an eye on in 2021

by Rohit Sankar 5 minute read

As we step into a new year, let’s take a look at the vast talent pool in India and how the pipeline looks like for the upcoming year. Here’s a list of uncapped Indian players who might be worth keeping a close eye in 2021.

Ishan Kishan

A useful way to judge a middle-order T20 batsman is analysing how well they play pace and spin; if you can take down both, opposition teams quickly run out of options. Ishan Kishan’s IPL 2020 set the template for how a middle-order batsman should approach their innings in the shortest format of the game. He made 516 runs in 14 games, averaging 57.33 and striking at 145.76, but most importantly, he showed he could take on the best, consistently firing against the South Africa pacers, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, from Delhi Capitals. By his own admission, Kishan is someone “who can’t leave his attacking mode”. India’s T20I middle-order could use a player with that kind of fearlessness.

Suryakumar Yadav

The only uncapped Indian player with 2000-plus runs in the IPL, Suryakumar Yadav has been knocking the door down with performances in the domestic circuit for a while now. He had a terrific IPL 2020, scoring 480 runs at an average of 40.0 and a strike-rate of 145.01. Suryakumar’s consistency has made him one of the most talked about uncapped players and another great IPL could see him make it to the national side in the shortest format of the game at least.

Devdutt Padikkal

The emerging player of IPL 2020, Devdutt Padikkal finished with 473 runs in his inaugural season in the league, topping the run charts for Royal Challengers Bangalore. The uncapped Indian player, whose flair evoked comparisons to Yuvraj Singh, scored five fifties in the season and showed a maturity beyond his years that earned plaudits from experts and fans. While India have an abundance of top-order batters, Padikkal has firmly put his name in the hat with his exceptional performances.

Varun Chakravarthy

After picking up a hefty fee at auction, Varun Chakravarthy shot into the limelight on his IPL debut in 2019 for all the wrong reasons. His first over in the league went for 25 runs and Kings XI Punjab released him once the season was done. But he found a home at the Kolkata Knight Riders, who did not just play him regularly in the 2020 IPL season, but made him their premier spinner along the way.

The uncapped Indian player responded with 17 wickets at an economy rate of 6.84, picking up a five-wicket haul too. He was picked in the India T20I squad for their series against Australia but a shoulder injury saw him miss the trip Down Under. 2021 should hold greater things for this exciting Tamil Nadu spinner.

Kartik Tyagi

11 wickets at 13.90 and an economy rate of 3.45 saw Kartik Tyagi hog headlines at the ICC Under-19 World Cup in 2020. The exciting youngster, who was compared to Brett Lee for his bowling action, has a handy yorker, a good knuckle ball and showed good composure in his maiden season in the Indian Premier League for Rajasthan Royals. He was picked as a reserve seamer in the India set-up for the tour of Australia. Another good season in the domestic circuit could catapult him into the national squad.

Ravi Bishnoi

Most leg-spinners are wicket-takers in the middle overs in T20s and teams look to tackle them with left-handers who can swing through the line. Ravi Bishnoi, on the other hand, relies a lot on his googlies and was impressive in his inaugural IPL season for Kings XI Punjab. Bishnoi’s ability to tie down left-handers stood out in a season where he claimed 12 wickets, seven of those being left-handers. He also had a better economy rate against the southpaws, making him a leg-spinner with a difference. Bishnoi also made a mark at the ICC Under-19 World Cup in 2020, topping the wickets chart with 17 wickets at a stunning average of 10.64.

Priyank Panchal

24 hundreds in first-class cricket at an average of 45.63 puts Priyank Panchal in the top bracket of domestic openers vying for a place in the India Test side. A solid player off the front and back foot, the Gujarat opener has stood out with his ability to score tough runs. In the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy season, Panchal scored an unbeaten double hundred in the second innings, a 183 not out in a successful fourth innings chase and a 186 against Hyderabad when none of his teammates scored more than 32. India are well stocked with opening options, but it has been a revolving door in the past and when his turn comes, Panchal seems to be ready to go.

Ishan Porel

One among the uncapped Indian bowlers to go on the tour Down Under last month, a hamstring injury forced Ishan Porel to return to India. An impressive pacer with a good first-class record, the lanky pacer has churned out good performances in his short career thus far. The Bengal pacer picked up a five-wicket haul in the Ranji Trophy 2019-20 semi-final after returning from a successful tour of New Zealand with the India A squad. Porel might be in a long line of pacers waiting to play for India, but he has made rapid strides since his first-class debut in 2017.

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