Kolkata: Foreign star recruits may have stamped their authority on the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League, but a number of Indian youngsters have utilised the platform well to showcase their talents and provide unalloyed joy to the cricket fans.
Delhi Daredevils batsman Shreyas Iyer and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal of Royal Challengers Bangalore have virtually taken the tournament by the scruff of the neck.
Though the Daredevils crashed out of the IPL without impressing much, they boasted of a solid domestic opening pair in the form of Iyer and Mayank Agarwal. Though the former was more flamboyant of the two, Mayank also grabbed quite a few eyeballs with his shot making.
In 14 matches, Iyer scored 439 runs at an average of 33.76 with a highest knock of 83, doing justice to the Dardevils' decision to rope in the 20-year-old Mumbai boy in the auction for a whopping Rs 2.6 crores.
A 17-year-old too has created ripples in the league with his range of shots. Sarfaraz Khan, turning up for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), not only knows how to play proper cricketing shots but can disdainfully reverse scoop a fast bowler into the stands. The Mumbai boy's unbeaten 45 of 21 balls against Rajasthan Royals drew lavish praise from the pundits.
Sarfaraz's aggregate of 111 runs from eight outings in the 22 yards seems pretty ordinary at fast glance, but the fact is he remained unconquered on four occasions.
His teammate Mandeep Singh also wielded the willow in style and helped by two delightful knocks against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and the Royals in the Eliminator amassed 157 runs from nine innings.
Besides them, 21-year-old Hardik Pandya for Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan's Deepak Hooda,(20 years) have impressed with the bat.
The highly rated Sanju Samson, had a low-key tournament for the Royals, though the 20 year old sparkled in some of his knocks.
For the Chennai Super Kings it was left hand allrounder Pawan Negi, whom M.S. Dhoni had given an opportunity to sizzle by sending him ahead of Ravindra Jadeja on a number of occasions. Negi proved worthy of his captain's faith in him, playing a couple of good innings as he accumulated 113 runs from eight innings. He also captured six wickets.
With the ball, Chahal has impressed like none other. The right arm leg-spinner has been one of the leading wicket-takers in the tourney, with 23 victims from 14 innings.
Chahal has had an imposing hold on the batsmen on the turning pitches here, mostly foxing them with his flight and length. He averages 18.04.
His partner in crime has been Harshal Patel, who has got 17 scalps from 14 outings.
Though the Kings XI Punjab had a dreadful season, their opening bowlers Sandeep Sharma and Anureet Singh gave them something to cheer for. Twenty-two-year-old Patiala-born Sandeep Sharma and the not-so-young Anureet Singh - five years senior to Sandeep - combined together to take 28 wickets from 14 matches.
A special mention should be made about Jagadeesha Suchith, 21, who broke into the star-studded Mumbai Indians outfit having not played a single first-class match. He has picked up 10 wickets.