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Indian Premier League 2023

Who is Mumbai Indians starlet Nehal Wadhera, the U23 quintuple centurion who blasted an out-of-stadium six on IPL debut?

Nehal Wadhera, on IPL debut, smashed a 101-metre six against RCB. Here's more on the Mumbai Indians player
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Nehal Wadhera, a little-known all-rounder from Punjab, grabbed eyeballs with his brisk cameo on IPL debut for Mumbai Indians, against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Here’s all you need to know about the young left-hander.

The big debut

Slotted in at No.6 below another youngster, Tilak Varma, Wadhera made his IPL debut against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Bengaluru, scoring a 13-ball 21, including a 101-metre six that travelled out of the ground.

In fact, it was his first T20 game – the 22-year-old hasn’t even played a List A game yet. He does have five first-class matches to his name, having debuted for Punjab earlier this year in the 2022/23 Ranji Trophy.


Wadhera seems to be big on debut games – playing against Gujarat, Wadhera cracked 123 in his debut first-class innings, on a pitch where none of his teammates could cross fifty. It was just a month after Mumbai Indians had bought him at the auction.

Two matches later, he cracked 214 against defending champions Madhya Pradesh, which set the tone for an innings win.

He currently averages 53.71 from seven first-class innings.

Early days

Wadhera has progressed over the years across various Punjab age group levels. He played the Vijay Merchant and Cooch Behar Trophy at the Under-16 level, before progressing to the Under-19s in 2017. Apart from his batting skills, Wadhera also bowls leg-spin.

He’s known to be a Yuvraj Singh fan and is said to have modelled his game on the former India cricketer, who hails from the same state. In an interview, he also mentioned he looks up to other India batting greats – Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli – much like several other budding cricketers in the country. His father, Kamal Wadhera, is said to run a coaching institute in Ludhiana.

Breakout season

The 2017/18 Cooch Behar Trophy, a domestic U19 tournament, proved to be a breakout season – Wadhera cracked 529 runs at 44.08, six fifties included. By next year, he had broken into India’s U19 squad.

On his red-ball debut for the U19 side, Wadhera cracked 82 from No.6, in a team that also included contemporary IPL cricketers Devdutt Padikkal, Ayush Badoni and Arjun Tendulkar.

He made his way to the 2019 U19 Asia Cup, but wasn’t shortlisted for the U19 World Cup held just a few months later.

The big knock

It was a knock in a Punjab State inter-district tournament last year that gained Wadhera media attention. Then 21, he smashed 578 for Ludhiana against Bathinda in the U-23 tournament semi-final. The knock included 42 fours and 37 sixes.

Earlier last year, the 22-year-old was reportedly called for trials by the Rajasthan Royals, but did not get picked by them. According to Wadhera, he spent considerable time with Kumar Sangakkara, based on whose inputs the youngster has worked on his power-hitting.

The quote

“Yuvi ki yaad dila di (Got reminded of Yuvraj Singh)”

Charanjit Bhangu, his coach growing up, was mightily impressed when his pupil cracked the quintuple century last year.

Gujarat Titans are favourites to retain their IPL title with our Match Centre partners bet365. To bet on the outright market of the competition head here.

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