Over the years the IPL has been pretty well known for bringing to the fore, exceptional domestic talents, and the league once again put the spotlight firmly on some extremely talented young guns.
And at the centre of the buzz so far have been the rookie fast bowlers, who are coming up the ranks fast and playing significant roles for their teams.
With quite a few of the franchises missing out on big international names due to their ongoing national duties, these young pacers have taken up the responsibilities pretty seriously and under the supervision and guidance of senior players and management have produced quite a few impressive performances.
Trying to make the best of the opportunities given, these rookie pacers have been performing at full throttle to make a mark on cricket’s biggest stage.
TimesofIndia.com here takes a look at some of the young fast bowlers who have impressed the cricketing fraternity and are on course to make a big impact this season.
Arshdeep Singh (Punjab Kings)
Left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh has been on a constant upward curve for his franchise Punjab Kings over the last three years. At just 23 years of age, Arshdeep has impressed everyone in the cricketing circuit with maturity and skills in his bowling that keep on improving every season.
Bought by the franchise in 2019 and a member of the 2018 U19 World Cup winning Indian squad, Arshdeep finished as the second highest wicket-taker for Punjab last season.
A nippy bowler, who has taken up the challenge of bowling against the world’s best batters head on, Arshdeep has been one of the finds of the tournament in the last couple of years.
Although Arshdeep is yet to wear the India cap, Punjab have been mighty impressed with the youngster. So much so that young Arshedeep was one of only two players retained by the team ahead of the last player auction. The other was current Punjab skipper Mayank Agarwal.
Arshdeep so far has 26 IPL matches under his belt and has already taken 32 wickets that also includes a fifer. Be it bowling inside the powerplay or in the death overs, Arshdeep has been highly impressive and has emerged as the pace spearhead of the team. He will now be looking to up the ante this season as Punjab pursue their journey for that elusive maiden title.
Vaibhav Arora (Punjab Kings)
Bought by Punjab Kings at his base price of INR 20 lakh before the start of this season, Vaibhav Arora is proving to be a value for money player. The 24 year old from Ambala produced a superb spell in Sunday’s game against Chennai Super Kings, which was his IPL debut.
With figures of 4-0-21-2, the medium pacer rattled Chennai’s top order in the powerplay. The opening burst from Vaibhav in fact eventually became one of the decisive factors in Punjab’s impressive win.
Vaibhav, who plays for Himachal Pradesh in domestic cricket, in his first game showed he can swing the ball both ways and troubled the batters with the new ball.
Signed by Punjab Kings as a net bowler in the 2020 IPL edition, Vaibhav was pretty consistent and impressive and that eventually helped him bag a contract this year. As Shikhar Dhawan revealed after the match vs CSK, Vaibhav has been troubling the best of batsmen in the Punjab nets.
Along with his friend, Arshdeep Singh, the duo has looked mighty impressive and will eye to torment the opposition batters as the tournament progresses.
Umran Malik (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Just 3 matches in the last edition for Sunrisers Hyderabad and Jammu & Kashmir pacer Umran Malik became a sensation across the country. Consistently clocking 150 kph-plus deliveries with minimum effort made Umran the buzz of the town.
The eyes of the pundits and experts lit up when Umran, in a match against Royal Challengers Bangalore bowled five balls in a row at more than 150 kmph last season.
And when his franchise Sunrisers retained him for a price of INR 4 crore ahead of this season, it wasn’t really a surprise.
After giving a sneak peek of his bowling prowess last year, Umran then went on to join the Indian team for the T20 World Cup as a net bowler and after that was also picked for the India A squad for the series in South Africa.
From debuting in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for J&K to making the India A squad, 2021 turned out to be a breakthrough year for Umran.
The 22-year-old’s rise has been astronomical in the last 8 months and it will be really interesting to see how he goes about his business in this IPL.
Umran has experienced campaigner Bhuvneshwar Kumar with him at the SRH camp. This season will be crucial for Umran, widely tagged as the fastest bowler in India and someone who has the potential to be the next out-and-out quick who can wear India colors really soon.
Last season Umran, who is incidentally just the fourth player from J&K to play in the IPL, clocked the fastest delivery in IPL history by an Indian bowler at 152.59 kmph.
Akash Deep (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
With the likes of Josh Hazlewood, Glenn Maxwell and Jason Behrendorff missing the start of the season for Royal Challengers Bangalore, 25 year old Akash Deep from Bihar got an opportunity to showcase his talent and he grabbed it with both hands. With four wickets in 2 matches with best figures of 3/45, Akash has impressed quite a few in the initial part of the season.
In his debut IPL game against Punjab Kings, which was a high-scoring affair, the right arm fast medium bowler registered figures of 1 for 38, but it was his spell in the second match against Kolkata Knight Riders that helped Bangalore register their first win of the season.
The bowling all-rounder, who plays for Bengal in the domestic circuit, is yet to showcase his batting prowess.
It is not a given that Akash will retain his place in the squad when the big guns return for Bangalore, but the rookie has made a case for himself with two impressive outings and it will be a headache of sorts for the team management to have him warm the bench when he is high on confidence.
Tushar Deshpande (Chennai Super Kings)
Mumbai-born Tushar Deshpande is another rookie who has been steadily rising up the ranks. After spending a couple of years in the Delhi Capitals’ dugout, Tushar was bought by the Chennai Super Kings at the last auction for his base price of INR 20 lakh.
The impressive right-arm medium pacer so far has featured in 7 IPL games out of which 6 of them were for the Delhi Capitals in the last two seasons.
Tushar started the season for Chennai this year, but missed out on a playing XI spot in their second game against the Punjab Kings.
The 26-year-old, known for his accuracy has been impressive both in the powerplay and death overs in his young IPL career and it will be interesting to see how the experienced Chennai management and think tank use him in the upcoming matches.
In the one match he has played so far for CSK this season, which was the tournament opener vs KKR, he didn’t take a wicket and gave away 23 runs in the 3 overs he bowled, at an economy rate of 7.66.