Top 7 Young stars unearthed in IPL 2023
Indian Premier League 2023 concluded in the most compelling way possible as Chennai Super Kings beat the reigning champions Gujarat Titans in the final of the 16th edition. The final offered everything possible, including a two-hour rain break, last-over drama, and most importantly, a limelight on rising youngsters.
Veterans stole the show but Gujarat Titans’ Sai Sudharsan, 21, top-scored with 96 runs in the final while the 18-year-old spinner Noor Ahmad bowled the best spell of the game. This showcases the platform the league has created for youngsters, and not just for only Indian cricketers.
Many believe that the league has been the best shortcut to earning a spot in the national team. Suryakumar Yadav, 32, has below-average numbers in domestic cricket and very few hardcore cricket fans knew his name before 2020. But his remarkable performances in IPL helped him a place in the Indian team for the first time in 2021 and now he comfortably dominates the shortest format of the game as a world no.1 T20I batter in ICC rankings.
Coming back to IPL’s impact on youngsters, the league continues to scorch young talent over the years and the 2023 edition is no different. So, let’s take a look at the top seven youngsters who surfaced from nothing in IPL 2023.
#7 Prabhsimran Singh (Punjab Kings)
Another disappointing season for Punjab Kings as they finished in eighth place in league stages with just six wins in 14 games. But Shikhar Dhawan-led PBKS assured fans that they have a promising future with many youngsters putting in impressive performances this season.
And the biggest impact came from the 22-year-old wicketkeeper batter Prabhsimran Singh. Prabhsimran featured in PBKS’s all 14 league stage matches as he proved his consistency by scoring 358 runs at an impressive strike rate of 150.42 with the help of 19 sixes.
His best knock came against Delhi Capitals when he smashed 103 runs off 65 balls to keep his team alive in the race for the playoff qualification. Prior to IPL 2023, he had scored just 63 runs from six games across four IPL seasons but finally managed to make his name known to the cricketing world.
#6 Nehal Wadhera (Mumbai Indians)
Mumbai Indians continue their tradition of finding gems from Indian cricket and polishing them through the IPL platform this season as well. Last season it was Tilak Verma, this season they have three names who were pretty unknown to the cricket world but now everyone is singing their names. And one of them is 22-year-old batting all-rounder Nehal Wadhera.
Nehal only surfaced in domestic cricket for Punjab with a debut in First-Class cricket earlier this year. Mumbai bagged him for INR 20 lakh in the last round of the IPL auction 2023 with no other team even looking at the name. But the youngster shone like the brightest star in Indian cricket as he recorded 261 runs in just 10 innings at a strike rate of 145.18.
He also registered two back-to-back half-centuries against RCB and CSK to boost Mumbai from a poor start to a playoff finish.
#5 Dhruv Jurel (Rajasthan Royals)
Only two positive things happened to last season’s runner-up Rajasthan Royals this season, one being Yashasvi Jaiswal grabbing the Emerging Player of the Season award, the second being Dhruv Jurel’s sudden emergence in IPL.
Dhruv, the 22-year-old wicketkeeper batter from Agra, joined the Royals in 2022 but made his debut this season and he took the opportunity with open arms. Jurel smashed 152 runs in 11 innings at an average of 21.71 in IPL 2023, pretty decent numbers for a debutant, but those runs came at a strike rate of 172.72.
His 34 runs off 15 against CSK and an unbeaten innings of 34 runs off 16 against RCB earned him a regular run in the playing XI as the Royals’ main finisher ahead of the likes of ineffective Riyan Parag and Jason Holder. Jurel has a long way to go but he got a breakthrough season he needed to earn media attention.
#4 Noor Ahmad (Gujarat Titans)
The youngest and only overseas name in this list. Noor Ahmad, the 18-year-old left-arm spinner from Afghanistan emerged to the IPL surface from nothing. He has already featured in two international games but his performances in IPL 2023 forced cricket fans to search his name on the internet to know his identity.
Noor Ahmad took 16 wickets in 13 IPL games this season at an amazing economy rate of 7.82. Rashid Khan, Mohammed Shami, and Mohit Sharma took combined 82 wickets for GT this season but Noor maintained the best economy rate for the Titans. He took two wickets in a single over in the final against CSK as he bowled the most economical spell in the game, 2/17 at an economy rate of 5.66.
CSK’s Maheesh Theekshana had the second-best economical figure in the final, 9.0, which highlights Noor’s unparalleled spell in the most important game of the season.
#3 Sai Sudharsan (Gujarat Titans)
Already an established name in Tamil Nadu cricket but very few would have heard his name prior to the IPL 2023. Gujarat Titans signed him up during the IPL 2022 mega auction for his base price of INR 20 lakh and the left-handed batter showcased his potential by scoring 145 runs in five innings at a decent strike rate of 127.
However, Sai Sudharsan made a big stride in IPL 2023 by scoring 362 runs in just eight innings at an average of 51.71 and at a strike rate of 141.40 with three fifties. But his knock of 96 runs off 47 balls, the highest individual score by an Indian uncapped player in the final, in the summit clash against CSK put him on the map. The Chennai-born cricketer impressed everyone with his technical skills and his ability to control the game from no.3 position.
#2 Akash Madhwal (Mumbai Indians)
Mumbai Indians’ bowling woes with injuries were one of the highlights in IPL 2023 as the five-time champions endured a mixed season. They managed to secure playoff qualification but the biggest positive for Rohit Sharma-led side was the emergence of Aaksh Madhwal out of nowhere. The 29-year-old right-arm pacer stood up high in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah and Jofra Archer to leave his mark in IPL 2023.
Coming from Uttarakhand, Akash Madhwal came under the limelight when he bowled a 5/5 figure spell, the best economical spell in IPL history, against Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator clash. Madhwal finished the season with 14 wickets in eight matches at an economy rate of 8.58 and will enter the next IPL as Mumbai’s prime pacer alongside Jasprit Bumrah.
#1 Rinku Singh (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Rinku Singh, 25, not particularly a youngster by age but the left-handed batter from Kolkata Knight Riders made the biggest individual impact in IPL 2023. Rinku made his IPL debut in 2017 and showed little glimpses of his hidden talent in 2022 by scoring 174 runs in seven innings.
However, he totally took the game to the next level when he smashed five consecutive sixes off GT’s Yash Dayal to send shockwaves throughout the cricketing world this season. However, it was not a one-game wonder, as the youngster dominated the tournament as a leading run-scorer for KKR with 474 runs in 14 innings at an average of 59.25 and a strike rate of almost 150.
Rinku proved his finishing skills by smashing four half-centuries, all while chasing and in crunch situations, with 29 sixes, including two 100-meter plus maximums in IPL 2023. There is no uncertainty over Rinku’s inclusion in the future Indian national team as he boosts the 50-plus average in both First Class and List A cricket.