The Indian team is going through a major transition with experienced players like Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly, Sehwag taking retirement from international cricket. Initially, it was tough as the team struggled both at home and away, however, as time has progressed, certain youngsters have come up and are beginning to fill up the voids left by these legends. Through this article, we list a bunch of players who can make it to the Indian team in the coming year.
1) Sanju Samson
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The 21-year-old young lad has impressed one and all with his batting prowess in the Indian Premier League and is one of the best among the youngsters who are coming up. He is originally from Kerala, a state where football is more popular. Despite being a teenager, Sanju Samson has emerged as a prime contender to be the flag-bearer of cricket for the state of Kerala. Samson’s gift of timing and consistency earned him a place in the U-19 squad for Asia Cup in 2012, but this tournament turned out to be a big disappointment as he managed only 14 runs from 3 matches. However, he made up for it with consistent performances both with bat and behind the wickets and started the Ranji Trophy Season with a century against Himachal Pradesh in seamer-friendly conditions and added one more before the end of the season. The next big step was the IPL where he contributed most of the times when he came out to bat. His 41-ball 63 against Royal Challengers Bangalore confirmed him as one of the finds of the 2013 tournament. With Wriddhiman Saha not performing so well in the test arena, there lies a chance for him to make amends.
2) Sarfaraz Khan
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The teenage boy became an overnight hero when he scored a scintillating 45 of 21 balls against the Rajasthan Royals in IPL 8. Indian test skipper was so impressed by him that he bowed and folded his hands to do a Namaste. He isn’t a power hitter who would smash the balls out of the ground but relies on innovations. He played the paddle sweep a lot during that innings and was clever in his approach. In 2009, he broke the record of Sachin Tendulkar for the most runs scored in a Haris Sheffield Shield match as he piled up a mammoth innings of 439 runs. He also was in the U-19 team for the World Cup in 2014 where he scored 211 runs in 6 innings at an average of over 70 and a strike rate of 105. The future seems bright for this young kid and is a certain prospect for making it to the National side.
3) Hardik Pandya
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Pandya plays for Baroda team in the Ranji Trophy and is primarily a right-hand batsman who can bowl medium pace, an ideal player for the Indian team at the moment. He scored 285 runs from 9 innings in his maiden Ranji Trophy season. But Pandya got his recognition from his finishing capabilities which he displayed in the recently concluded IPL 8. He scored 112 runs from 8 innings at a strike rate of 180 in pressure situations. Even legend and MI’s coach Ricky Ponting was impressed with him. With Stuart Binny proving out to be disappointing throwing away the opportunities that he is getting, it won’t be long before he is called upon to do that job.
4) Gurkeerat Singh Mann
picture credits- indianexpress.com
Gurkeerat has been knocking on the door a lot recently with his consistent performances with the bat and the knack of taking wickets bowling his right arm off-break. He started playing cricket at the age of 9 at the Punjab Cricket Association in Mohali and went on to represent Punjab in the Cooch Behar and Vinoo Mankad trophies at the Under-19 level. He was also a part of the Punjab Under-22 team that won the CK Nayudu Trophy in 2011. He has an excellent first class career with 1469 runs at an average of 47.38 and 32 wickets from 22 matches.
5) Sandeep Sharma
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Sandeep has been Kings XI Punjab’s most successful bowler in the last 2 season of the IPL and is probably the best bowler India has among the youngsters. His ability to swing the ball both ways and ability to bowl Yorkers at will is what makes him special. Sandeep has taken 39 wickets in 29 IPL matches at an average of 21. Although, he made a name of himself in 2012 Under-19 world cup final in which he sent four Australians to the dugout. He continued his merry run in domestic arena with 111 wickets in 27 First-class matches. If there is any department that is relatively weak, it is the fast bowling department and hence, Sandeep Sharma would be more than a useful addition to the arsenal.
6) Karun Nair
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Nair plays for Karnataka and had a dream debut first class season of 2013-14, becoming an instrumental part of the side that swept to the Ranji and Irani titles. He hit centuries in three successive Ranji matches, including the quarter-finals and the semi-finals, and also hit the winning six that ended Karnataka’s 15-year-wait for a Ranji title. He performed consistently for the Rajasthan Royals and can make his debut for India in 2016.
7) Sreenath Aravind
India lacks variety in its pace bowling department, and this left arm pacer would surely add some if he is taken in the Indian team. He along with Starc gave nightmares to the batsmen in the IPL. He also has a knack of taking wickets at crucial times and was the highest wicket-taker for RCB taking 21 wickets from 13 games in the fourth season of the IPL. He had a strong 2010-11 domestic season; he was the second highest wicket-taker for Karnataka with 26 scalps and also the second highest wicket-taker for South Zone in the Duleep Trophy with 10 wickets. His impressive run of form earned him a call-up to the Indian ODI side for the home series against England. I am excited to see the way he performs if gets his chance next year to play in blue jersey.