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Indian Premier League 2020

IPL 2020: Who is Prithvi Raj Yarra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s replacement at Sunrisers Hyderabad?

Prithvi Raj Yarra IPL
by Wisden Staff 4-minute read

Sunrisers Hyderabad might have difficulty filling the void left by the injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar, their pace-bowling spearhead in IPL 2020, but it gives the opportunity for the rest of their Indian pace battery, and his replacement Prithvi Raj Yarra, a chance to rise to the ocassion. Here’s all you need to know about SRH’s new quick.

Prithvi Raj Yarra – the beginning

Prithvi Raj Yarra, born in Andhra Pradesh, is a 22-year-old left-arm quick, who possesses a tall frame and bowls with a fluid high-arm action.

He made it to the Andhra U-16s team as a 14-year-old for the Vijay Merchant Trophy in 2012/13. By 2016, he had made it to the U-19 side and was part of the U-23 setup the next year. He continued to play U-23s even as he broke into the Andhra first-class side.

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By his own admission, Prithvi Raj, through his U-13 and U-14 days, idolised Mitchell Johnson, “even with Wasim Akram and all those greater cricketers there as [in the left-arm pace bracket]”.

First-class break

He made his first-class debut in 2017, playing under Hanuma Vihari and against a Tamil Nadu team that had Ravichandran Ashwin, Murali Vijay and Washington Sundar in its ranks. He picked up six wickets on debut and 12 wickets in the season overall.

In 2018, he made his List A debut in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, and next year, made it to the Deodhar Trophy side, sharing the pace bowling responsibilities for India ‘C’ with Siddarth Kaul and Jaydev Unadkat.

He also made it to the T20 side for last year’s Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and has captured four wickets in three games so far.

So far, he has featured in three Ranji seasons for Andhra, picking up 39 wickets in 11 first-class games, although he is yet to pick up a five-wicket haul in the format.

IPL breakthrough

Ahead of the 2019 IPL auction, Prithvi Raj Yarra was picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders at his base price of INR 20 lakh. He featured in two games that year under Dinesh Karthik.

In his debut game, he opened the bowling with Harry Gurney, cleaning up David Warner, the season’s Orange Cap winner, and ending with figures of 1-29 in three overs.

His next game came against Rajasthan Royals, where he bowled as the fifth bowler, going for 28 runs in two overs.

In an interview earlier this year, Prithvi Raj had recalled how skipper Dinesh Karthik made him feel comfortable when he was nervous on his first day. “I was a little tensed but Dinesh Karthik came up to me and actually he knew how to speak in Telugu [his native language] and he asked me in Telugu if I was doing okay and if I needed something.”

IPL 2020 snub and mid-season replacement

Prithvi Raj Yarra was one of the ten names released by Kolkata Knight Riders after IPL 2019 and did not find any takers for the 2020 season. In an interview with Sportstar during the 2019/20 Ranji Trophy, he said that he doesn’t see the IPL snub as a failure.

“I take it as a positive,” he was quoted as saying. “I don’t mind missing out on one season of the IPL. There must be something lacking in me and I know there is a lot of work to be done on my bowling and fitness.” Months later, he is set to join the action in the UAE with an IPL contract in his hand.

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