Ahead of Sunday’s T20I series kick off against South Africa, mid-day.com takes a look at five emerging Indian players who would look to prove a point and emerge contenders for the 2024 T20 World Cup
Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rinku Singh, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ravi Bishnoi and Jitesh Sharma. Pics/AFP
Opening batsman Yashasvi Jaiswal is having a great time in T20Is. Though he scored just 138 runs in the recently-concluded five T20I matches against Australia at an average of 27.60, his strike rate of 168.29 boosts the team’s confidence at the start. He will look to continue in the same fashion by scoring quick and put the opposition out of the game within a span of a few overs.
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With 28 required off the last five balls in Rinku Singh became a household name after smashing five consecutive sixes for Kolkata Knight Riders against Gujarat Titans in an IPL match earlier this year. There is no looking back for the middle-order batsman. He scored 105 runs in four T20I innings against Australia at an impressive strike rate of 175.00 to emerge a contender for the finisher's role in next year’s T20 World Cup.
Leg-Spinner Ravi Bishnoi leaked 1-54 off four overs in the first T20I against Australia. However, he made a strong comeback in the series, claiming eight wickets in the next four games, including 3-32 in the second T20I. Bishnoi conceded just 1-17 off four overs in the fourth T20I, which played a significant role in restricting Australia to 154-7 as India went on to win by 20 runs to clinch the T20I series, with Bishnoi becoming the World No. 1 T20I bowler.
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Ruturaj Gaikwad was unlucky to be dismissed for a diamond duck (run out without facing a ball) in the first T20I against Australia. He made amends in the upcoming matches. Opening the innings, he scored a 43-ball 58 to power India to a match-winning total of 235-4 in the second T20I. He smashed his career-best 123 not out off just 57 balls at a superb strike-rate of 215.78 in the third T20I to take India to 222-3 in the allotted 20 overs. He ended the five-match T20I series as the highest-run scorer (223 runs at an average of 55.75). He now has an opportunity to cement his T20I World Cup spot by scoring big in South Africa.
Batting at No. 6, wicketkeeper-batsman Jitesh Sharma impressed one and all with his quickfire 19-ball 35 in the fourth T20I against Australia. He continued his fine form in the fifth T20 too, playing a 16-ball 24-run cameo to emerge as a contender for the T20 World Cup. However, the ’keeper will have to face stiff competition from Ishan Kishan and Rishabh Pant (subject to fitness).