Top 5 Emerging Stars to Observe in T20I series against South Africa ft. Gaikwad, Bishnoi, etc.

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Gaikwad was the highest run-getter in the 5 T20I match series against Australia

The young Indian Team is gearing up for the South African tour, featuring a comprehensive series of 3 T20Is, 3 ODIs, and 2 Tests with the T20 series kicking off on December 10. 

The squad for the T20Is mirrors the recent successful series against Australia, with notable changes seeing Shubman Gill, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Siraj, and Kuldeep Yadav stepping in for Axar Patel, Shivam Dube, Avesh Khan, and Prasidh Krishna. 

Suryakumar Yadav, who led the Indian side against Australia, will once again captain the men in blue in the African continent for the three T20Is. With senior players taking a break from T20Is, emerging talents now have a prime opportunity to showcase their skills against a formidable South African side, aiming to secure a permanent spot in the squad as the ICC T20I Men’s World Cup looms ahead. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the young and emerging players who will be closely observed in the upcoming three T20Is against South Africa.

#5 Washington Sundar

Washington Sundar boasts superior bowling statistics in T20Is compared to his contributions with the bat. His ability to maintain a tight length and restrict runs is evident in his performance, having conceded 30 plus runs in only one of the 14 T20Is he played since March 2021.

While the versatile all-rounder’s prowess as a bowler is noteworthy, his batting record reveals a more modest average of 10.7, accumulating 107 runs in 15 innings with a strike rate of 150.7. His role as a lower-order batsman adds an unpredictable dimension to India’s lineup, capable of unleashing powerful hits when needed.

Despite being part of the squad against Australia in the recent India series, Sundar remained on the sidelines throughout the 5 T20Is. Nonetheless, when given the opportunity, Sundar will be expected to contribute not just in restricting runs but also in claiming crucial wickets. 

#4 Mukesh Kumar

Mukesh Kumar, the rising star in India’s bowling arsenal, has been solidifying his reputation as an exceptional death bowler, showcasing his mastery with impeccable yorkers, as evidenced in the recent T20Is against Australia. 

His precision in denying batsmen room for big hits positions him as a notable contender to watch in the upcoming T20I clashes against the Proteas. Mukesh delivered an exceptional performance in the last match where he secured 3 wickets while conceding only 32 runs in 4 overs.

Throughout the series against Australia, he played four matches, securing a total of four wickets with an average of 36.50. The pitches in South Africa potentially favoring his fast bowling could see Mukesh emerge as a formidable force, partnering with Siraj to create a lethal pace attack.

Since his T20I debut in August 2023 against West Indies, the 30-year-old has participated in nine T20Is, securing 7 wickets with an average of 37 and an economy rate of 8.98. The upcoming series against Proteas holds immense significance in Mukesh’s burgeoning career, offering a platform for him to further enhance his skills and solidify his place as a key player in the Indian bowling lineup.

#3 Rinku Singh

India has never lost a game whenever Rinku Singh has batted for the team

As the Indian team grapples with the search for a reliable match finisher, Rinku emerges as a beacon of hope. His stellar performances against Australia not only captured attention but also underscored his potential to address the team’s long-standing issue. All eyes are now on Rinku as he gears up to face the Proteas, posing a formidable threat to their bowling lineup.

Rinku Singh, with just 10 T20Is under his belt for India, has swiftly established himself as a reliable match finisher, sparking renewed optimism among Indian cricket fans who had long awaited a player to fulfil that crucial role. The 26-year-old sensation, hailing from Uttar Pradesh, catapulted to stardom, particularly after delivering breathtaking performances in the previous IPL season.

During the recent series against Australia, Rinku showcased his prowess in four innings, amassing an impressive 105 runs at an average of 52.50 and a strikingly effective strike rate of 175. In the series opener against the Men in Yellow, his short yet impactful cameo of 22 runs off 14 balls stole the limelight, sealing a match-winning innings.

#2 Ruturaj Gaikwad

With Gill in the squad, the competition for the opening slot between Ruturaj Gaikwad and Yashasvi Jaiswal will intensify even further. Gaikwad, despite his stellar performance against Australia, still needs to address the issue of consuming too many dot deliveries.

Scoring 223 runs in 5 innings against Australia at an average of 55.75 and a strike rate of 159.29, including a fifty and a century, highlights his potential as a formidable opening batter for India. 

However, his overall T20I record of 500 runs at an average of 35.71 and a strike rate of 140.06 needs consistent improvement. Gaikwad’s recent feat of becoming the fastest Indian batsman to reach 4000 T20 runs adds weight to his credentials, making him a player closely monitored by the Indian selectors in the upcoming series.

#1 Ravi Bishnoi

On Wednesday, Bishnoi became the No. 1 ICC Men’s T20I bowler for the first time

Stepping into Yuzvendra Chahal’s shoes, Ravi Bishnoi has flawlessly taken charge. The leg spinner’s recent performance has been exceptional, securing an impressive 9 wickets in just 5 matches against Australia in the last series. Notably, he maintained an average of 18.22 and an economy of 6.20.

He concluded as the highest wicket-taker in the series, also earning the Player of the series award. Out of the nine wickets he claimed, Bishnoi bowled out 5 Australian batters. The 23-year-old spinner has consistently delivered for India, amassing 34 wickets in 21 matches with an average of 17.38, an economy of 7.15, and a strike rate of 14.59.

Opposition batters find it challenging to face Bishnoi making him a potent and wicket-taking bowler. With his eyes set on the Next T20I World Cup, another stellar performance in South Africa could undoubtedly secure his spot in the first-choice playing XI.