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The ten best young players in IPL V

Last updated on: April 23, 2012 16:45 IST

The ten best young players in IPL V

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A few youngsters have played vital roles in their team's victories in the ongoing T20 league. Harish Kotian picks the most impressive.

The Indian Premier League throws up new talent year in and year out and can even creates big stars out of some unknown players.

Who had heard of players like Shaun Marsh, Kieron Pollard or even Ravindra Jadeja before they took centre stage in the IPL?

It is the youngsters who benefit the most, as a couple of good knocks in the T20 tournament can prove a lot more valuable than slogging out for a whole season in domestic cricket.

Who remembers how much a batsman scored or how well did one bowl in a Ranji Trophy competition? But a half-century or a few wickets in the IPL not only puts the players on the selectors' radar but also boosts their bank balance significantly.

This season, too, a few young players have come to the fore, playing vital roles in their team's victories.

Rediff.com takes a look at some of the young players (below 25 years), who have impressed in the IPL so far.

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Ajinkya Rahane

Age: 23

Team: Rajasthan Royals

Ajinkya Rahane is the player of the tournament so far. The first player to cross the 300-run mark, Rahane was vital to Rajasthan Royals' superb start to the tournament. They are now placed second in the IPL standings with four victories from seven matches.

Rahane is the top-scorer of the tournament with 319 runs, at an average of 53.16, with a century and half-century to his credit. The Rajasthan opener has hit 43 boundaries and nine sixes through proper cricketing strokes, not resorting to wild slogs, like is usually the case in T20 cricket.

So far, the 23-year-old has played 11 ODIs and two T20s for Team India, but hasn't been able to establish himself in the national side.

Going by his performances in this year's IPL, he should be back in the Indian team soon.

He is already being hailed as the next big thing in Indian cricket and is rated as a batsman capable of doing well in all formats.




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The ten best young players in IPL V

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Steven Smith

Age: 22

Team: Pune Warriors India

Steven Smith was a little-known Australian bits and pieces player until he came into the IPL. His dashing performances with the bat have made him a hit with the Pune Warriors India fans.

Smith started his career as a promising leg spinner for Australia before his batting started making waves. His bowling waned but his batting improved over the years. He now commands a place, in whichever team he plays for, on the virtue of his batting alone.

This season he is a revelation for Pune, who are devoid of big players, as his big hitting has been instrumental in a few of their victories.

Smith has scored 194 runs in seven matches, at an average of 38.80, with a high strike rate of 152.75.




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Rohit Sharma

Age:24

Team: Mumbai Indians

Mumbai Indians' Rohit Sharma is also another batsman who is often hailed as a future star of Indian cricket. He started the tournament on a rather unfortunate note, getting dismissed for a duck against Chennai Super Kings in the opening match of the tournament.

But he rose from that setback and played possibly one of the best innings in the history of the IPL. He smashed 73 runs, including a six off the last ball of the match, to take Mumbai Indians to a thrilling victory over Deccan Chargers.

However, class is nothing without consistency and Rohit needs to score consistently with the bat. So far, he has amassed 126 runs in six matches, at an average of 25.20.




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Ashok Menaria

Age: 21

Team: Rajasthan Royals

Left-hander, Ashok Menaria is another player for the future and is sure to make the headlines.

The 21-year-old has already established himself as one of the key players for Rajasthan Royals and this year too he has made some notable contributions.

Thus far, he has scored 119 runs in seven matches, but mostly has batted down the order or late in the innings. But he has also done well with the ball whenever called up to do the job.

He has one wicket in the three economical overs against his name.

Shahbaz Nadeem

Age: 22

Team: Delhi Daredevils

Shahbaz Nadeem is the best Indian spinner in the tournament after excellent performances for Delhi Daredevils.

After a sedate start, he has grown in confidence and gone on to become a potent weapon for Delhi.

Delhi captain Virender Sehwag has also showed faith in the young left-arm spinner and used him to open the bowling in a few matches.

He has six wickets in as many games, including the three for 16 he took against Deccan Chargers.


Image: Ashok Menaria


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Kieron Pollard

Age: 24

Team: Mumbai Indians

Kieron Pollard is into his third season of the IPL but can be considered a veteran. He is a key member of the Mumbai Indians set-up and no matter what the conditions are is always in the team.

He is 24, and has already played in various T20 competitions around the world. In the process, he refused a central contract with the West Indies Cricket Board, which has seen him miss many international matches in the last couple of years.

This season he has been handed a little more responsibility with the bat in the absence of the injured Sachin Tendulkar for a few matches. He scored his first half-century in the IPL this season when he smashed 64 runs from 33 balls against Rajasthan Royals and then picked four for 44.

So far he has scored 104 runs in six matches, but, importantly, has bagged 11 wickets, giving away just 6.86 runs per over.

Sunil Narine

Age: 23

Team: Kolkata Knight Riders

West Indian Sunil Narine's decision to give preference to the IPL over the ongoing Test series against Australia has benefited Kolkata Knight Riders immensely.

Narine was an instant hit with the ball for the star-studded Knight Riders and has even been preferred ahead of the in-form Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan.

He has grabbed eight wickets from four matches, at an economy rate of 5.87, with best bowling figures of 5-19 coming against Kings XI Punjab.


Image: Kieron Pollard


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Kevon Cooper

Age: 23

Team: Rajasthan Royals

Kevon Cooper is another gem from Trinidad and Tobago, a place that seems to produce specialist T20 players.

Cooper is like a reflection of Kieron Pollard, possessing all the traits of his senior compatriot.

He was an instant hit for Rajasthan Royals when he starred with the bat by playing a couple of lofty shots, coming into bat in the final over. He then proved his worth with the ball as he recorded figures if 4 for 26 against Kings XI Punjab to mark a sensational debut.

He continued be among the wickets and is now third on the highest wicket-takers' list in the competition with 10 wickets in four matches.

Piyush Chawla

Age: 23

Team: Kings XI Punjab

Piyush Chawla made his international debut nearly six years ago but has failed to seal a permanent slot in the Indian team.

He was even part of the World Cup-winning team last year but soon dropped after a poor showing in the tournament.

Chawla seems to have worked hard on his game in the last few months and certainly looks a better player than before. This season he has performed well for Kings XI Punjab, both with bat and ball.

The 23-year-old has claimed eight wickets in seven matches at an impressive economy rate of 5.65, while scoring 76 runs despite batting lower down in the last few overs and having to throw his bat at everything.


Image: Piyush Chawla


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Ravindra Jadeja

Age: 23

Team: Chennai Super Kings

Chennai Super Kings shocked quite a few when they signed up Ravindra Jadeja for a whopping amount, said to be in excess of US $2 million, beating Deccan Chargers via the tie-breaker in the IPL 5 players' auction.

Jadeja made sure his owners were justified in their decision when he came good with a superb all-round showing in his second match for Chennai.

With the bat, he scored a quick 48 from 29 balls against Deccan Chargers before taking five for 16 to inspire his team to a 74-run victory.

But Jadeja's standards have been slipping steadily in the last few matches. So far, he has picked seven wickets from as many matches while scoring 199 runs at an average of 23.


Image: Ravindra Jadeja


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