Shaw, Mavi, Gill: How India’s U-19 Stars Are Growing in IPL 2018
IPL is helping under-19 players realise the ocean of difference between junior level cricket and ‘real’ cricket.
The journey from junior-level cricket to the senior league is replete with its own set of obstacles. Questions like how well will the youngsters adapt to the big stage refuses to die out, and what remains to be seen is if the under-19 players have the skill to translate their potential to the international arena. Hence, players like Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi – who had all played defining roles in India winning the Under-19 trophy earlier this year – were the subject of intense scrutiny in the Indian Premier League, with great expectations circling around Rahul Dravid’s wards.
A month into the league, Mavi has been leading Kolkata Knight Riders’ fast bowling charge in the death overs, while his KKR teammate Gill has shown his worth in the few opportunities that have knocked his door. Shaw, since the resignation of Gautam Gambhir, has been providing Delhi Daredevils with blistering starts, while Dravid has been watching his young troops handle the pressure with maturity from the stands.
Under-19 Stars Shine in IPL
After Mitchell Starc and Nagarkoti were ruled out of the tournament due to injury, it was Mavi who had to take on the responsibility and work in tandem with Mitchell Johnson in KKR. Even when he was expensive in the first few games, he would constantly deliver the ball above the 140 kmph-mark.
Realising that control and unpredictability are as crucial as pace, the youngster cleverly worked on changing the line and length, especially in the death overs. Along with bowling short balls, he started bowling yorkers as well, and the results are there for all to see.
In the last two games that he has played, Mavi has conceded just 42 runs in six overs
While Johnson has been expensive at the other end, young Mavi has been at his miserly best.
With KKR’s top-three bearing a settled look, Gill hardly has had any opportunities to bat in his favourable position. However, when Nitish Rana was ruled out due to back spasms against Chennai Super Kings at Eden Gardens, Dinesh Karthik pushed Gill to bat at number 4. The youngster came out to bat in a tricky situation with KKR at 40 for 2, still needing 138 for a win. Unfazed and unabashed by the rampaging CSK side, he held one end up to guide his team over the finish line, eventually ending at 57 from 36 deliveries.
Shaw, meanwhile, has been the biggest surprise. While his first-class talent was never in doubt, he was hardly being seen as a T20 specialist. His List A average of 22.92 is strikingly contrasted to his first-class average of 56.22, and before the IPL began, he had never played a T20 game before. However, with Gambhir’s ouster from the side, he was asked to open the innings, and with two 50s in five games, he has managed to silence all critics.
Shaw’s 205 runs this season have come at a strike-rate of 170.83, some of his shots almost giving a Tendulkar-esque vibe.
Dravid’s Impact & The Way Ahead
KKR skipper Karthik who has been working with both Gill and Mavi could not stop praising Dravid for his influence upon the youngsters.
After winning a World Cup, you tend to have a chip on your shoulders but definitely not these boys. A lot of credit to the way they’ve been brought up. Credit to Rahul Dravid as well. They always have good things to tell about Rahul. Having had somebody like that at the U-19 level is always going to help them.Dinesh Karthik, KKR Captain
Not only did the veteran teach his colts to celebrate triumphs with discipline, he also kept them grounded and his gentlemanly mannerisms unmistakably have rubbed on the troika. Unlike the other players their age, the three hardly stoop down to bad-mouthing once a catch has been claimed or a wicket taken.
On the field, they never allow recklessness to seep into their game, and always seem to have an answer to the questions being thrown about by their opponents. Dravid then, has played a huge role in their moulding.
IPL’s Importance in Their Careers
Having the IPL so soon after the World Cup triumph allows the youngsters to realise that an ocean of difference exists between junior level cricket and the big, bad world of ‘real’ cricket.
Thrown into the deep end straightaway enables them to improve their game and spending almost two months with the best cricketers is surely going to play a positive role.
While Mavi has Johnson for company; Gill has been benefiting greatly from Jacques Kallis’ proximity. Shaw has Ricky Ponting in the Delhi camp and even if hours of one-on-one sessions are not the norm, a great deal can be learnt just by observing how the legends go about the game.
The three players then, have an opportunity to build upon the IPL and the World Cup experiences to stitch together a fantastic career. They need not look beyond Unmukt Chand, who too won the Under-19 Cup in 2012 but is nowhere near the IPL fray six years hence, to know that it does not take long for a successful U-19 career to go downhill.
(Sarah Waris is a postgraduate in English Literature has taken on the tough task of limiting the mystic world of cricket to a few hundred words. She spends her hours gorging on food and blabbering nineteen to the dozen while awaiting the next Indian sporting triumph. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same)
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