Over the years, the IPL has provided the perfect platform for youngsters to thrive. This season hasn’t been any different, with several greenhorns distinguishing themselves through the course of their respective campaigns.
While the biggest crowd-pullers – the likes of MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli haven’t really imposed themselves, youngsters of the ilk of Abhishek Sharma, Mohsin Khan, Mukesh Choudhary, N Tilak Varma, and Umran Malik have thoroughly impressed. Not only have they shown they have the requisite skill to succeed on the biggest stage, but they have also portrayed exceptional temperament.
Without further ado, here is a look at the breakout stars from this edition of the IPL.
Jitesh Sharma (Punjab Kings)
234 runs @ 29.25, SR: 163.63
The Vidarbha wicket-keeper batter enjoyed a breakthrough IPL 2022 campaign. He didn’t start the season for Punjab Kings but has established himself in the side post his inclusion. He has played impactful cameos for them and has batted at a stunning strike rate of 163.63. Virender Sehwag was so enthralled by his performances that he even suggested Jitesh be the second wicket-keeper for India in the upcoming T20 World Cup. Jitesh wasn’t shabby behind the stumps either.
Mohsin Khan (Lucknow Super Giants)
13 wickets @ 13.23, ER: 5.93
Prior to IPL 2022, not many had heard about Mohsin. He had played more than 25 T20s for his state, Uttar Pradesh, but hadn’t featured in the IPL, despite being a part of Mumbai Indians’ setup in 2018 and 2020. Nearly two months into the tournament, almost every IPL fan is aware of his talent. Strongly built, Mohsin has the ability to swing the new ball and deceive batters with variations towards the end stages. His angle has been difficult to handle too, with his 13 wickets coming at a staggering average of 13.23 and an equally astonishing economy rate of 5.93.
Mukesh Choudhary (Chennai Super Kings)
16 wickets @ 26.5, ER: 9.32
Much like Mohsin, there weren’t many expectations from Choudhary ahead of the tournament. He had been a nets bowler for Chennai Super Kings but wasn’t really looked upon as someone who would play a significant chunk of games. All that changed, though, when Deepak Chahar was ruled out for the season. Choudhary didn’t set the tournament alight at first but gradually grew in stature, with a four-wicket spell against Mumbai Indians being the highlight. He also ended the league season as the joint-highest wicket-taker in the powerplay – tied with Mohammed Shami.
Tilak Varma (Mumbai Indians)
397 runs @ 36.09, SR: 131.02
Varma, who was a part of India’s squad at the 2020 U-19 World Cup, propelled himself into the limelight with a stupendous season. Even as the more illustrious names around him struggled for rhythm, he stood tall and impressed everyone with his array of strokes. He also showed good match-awareness and averted many Mumbai Indians batting collapses. It might not be long before he makes his mark internationally too.
Rinku Singh (Kolkata Knight Riders)
174 runs @ 34.8, SR: 148.72
Rinku has been a part of Kolkata Knight Riders since the 2018 edition. However, it was only this season that he truly came to the party. He only played half of their games but featured in at least two impactful knocks. The first came against Rajasthan Royals and he nearly pulled a victory out of the fire against Lucknow Super Giants. His charisma and effervescence on the field also left many impressed.
Umran Malik (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
22 wickets @ 20.28, ER: 9.03
Even before a ball had been bowled, people were gushing about the speeds Umran was bowling at. However, there was skepticism about his effectiveness. This season, he has quelled all those fears, and while he remains a bit raw, his wicket-taking nous and tactical awareness have improved exponentially. He has also bowled the fastest ball this season and if he continues charting a similar trajectory, an India cap might not be very far away.