Five uncapped Indians who may break into India’s T20I side after IPL 2023
IPL 2022 and its 17-match-old 2023 counterpart have brought several uncapped Indian cricketers into the limelight. Here are five who may break through to the Indian side.
Rinku Singh (domestic: Uttar Pradesh; IPL 2023: Kolkata Knight Riders)
No, it is not about the five sixes to pull off the grandparent of all IPL heists against Gujarat Titans alone. A pillar for Uttar Pradesh, Rinku had an India A call-up in 2019, but was suspended for three months before he could play a match.
An injury kept him out of IPL 2021, but 2022 saw him turn things around before 2023 made him a superstar. If his IPL career strike rate of 139 does not impress, that number since 2022 (155) should. The India T20I team does not have many death-over hitters: Rinku’s IPL strike rate of 207 in this phase of the innings tilts the balance in this favour.
Oh, and it is not about Twenty20 alone: he averages 53 in List A cricket (with a strike rate of 95) and 59.89 in first-class matches. His playing for India in at least one format seems inevitable.
Yashasvi Jaiswal (domestic: Mumbai; IPL 2023: Rajasthan Royals)
Like Rinku Jaiswal, too, can break through to the Indian team in any format, but it is his IPL record – he strikes at 144 since 2021, including 161 in 2023 – that is relevant here. In the first six overs, he hits a boundary – four or six – every four balls, and has teamed up with Jos Buttler to form one of the most devastating opening pairs in the league.
At the 2022 T20 World Cup, India scored at 5.75 an over inside the powerplay, better than only the Netherlands, Zimbabwe, and the UAE. Jaiswal is likely to be an excellent fit into the unit.
Tilak Varma (domestic: Hyderabad; IPL 2023: Mumbai Indians)
Mumbai Indians finished last in 2023, but Varma – only 19 back then – impressed with 397 runs, the second-most for the franchise. He struck at 131, not impressive per se, but so woeful was Mumbai’s season that only three – Tim David, Suryakumar Yadav, Dewald Brevis – fared better. It is no shame to finish behind a triumvirate this destructive.
Come 2023, and Varma has emerged in a different avatar. As wickets fell around him, he slammed a 46-ball unbeaten 84 against the Royal Challengers Bangalore when nobody made more than 21; against Chennai Super Kings, he made 22; and had it not been for his 29-ball 42, Mumbai might have lost their third match as well, against the Delhi Capitals.
Rajvardhan Hangargekar (domestic: Maharashtra; IPL 2023: Chennai Super Kings)
Too soon? Perhaps. Only 20, Hangargekar is not express, but he did impress on his IPL debut, taking out three top-order wickets against the Gujarat Titans to keep the Chennai Super Kings in the game until the last over.
But there is more to Hangargekar than that. At the 2022 Under-19 World Cup, for example, he hit eight fours and nine sixes in 55 balls. You do the calculations. His big hitting is likely to come into focus at some point this season.
R Sai Kishore (domestic: Tamil Nadu; IPL 2023: Gujarat Titans)
Sai Kishore is yet to play for Gujarat this season and featured only six times in 2022… but that is largely because their bowling combination has revolved around their fast bowlers and Rashid Khan. In 2022, he went for at 7.56 an over. For another side, he might have played a lot more.
Sai Kishore’s Twenty20 economy rate of 5.48 makes impressive reading. In the 2022/23 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, that number read 4.13 (he had tournament figures of 23-0-95-8): of those who had bowled at least 15 overs, no one went for under five.