Abhishek Sharma, 17, turns heads on IPL debut

Abhishek, another talented youngster from the World Cup winning U-19 team, impresses with an unbeaten 46 off 19 balls against RCB on Saturday.

Delhi Daredevils' Abhishek Sharma in action against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground in New Delhi on Saturday.   -  PTI

Abhishek Sharma, another 17-year-old, was tried and tested in the Indian Premier League on Saturday. The all-rounder, who was part of the India U-19 World Cup winning team in February, made his debut for Delhi Daredevils against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground in New Delhi.

He stood out with an unbeaten 46 off 19 balls, helping DD to a respectable total —181 for the loss of four wickets.

Afghanistan’s Mujeeb ur Rahman is the youngest — born March 28, 2001— IPL debutant; Abhishek — born September 4, 2000 — is second. Sandeep Lamichhane — born August 2, 2000 — is third in the list.

The innings

Batting at his usual number six spot, the southpaw impressed from the first ball. He announced his arrival with a four off Mohammad Siraj.

In the next over, the youngster took on Tim Southee. He dominated the over with two sixes and a four.

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But the six off Siraj’s third over remains the shot of the day. Abhishek dismissed the off-target bouncer with a fine upper cut that landed across the rope.

After Prithvi Shaw, Abhishek is the second player from the U-19 crop to play for DD.

Back story

Abhishek first caught attention when he hit a hundred on U-19 debut for Punjab in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy.

He is also four First-class games old.

Abhishek scored 202 runs in six innings in the 2017-18 season for Punjab, which included a magnificent 94 against Himachal Pradesh in Dharamsala.

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In the colts’ World Cup, Abhishek also shone with the ball. His slow left-arm spin fetched him six wickets in as many games at an economy of 3.91. With the bat, he will be remembered for the vital 50 against Bangladesh.

He was bought by DD for Rs 55 lakh at the auctions.

DD had a poor season but its youngsters — Rishabh Pant, Shaw, Shreyas Iyer (the new skipper) — have been on a roll. Abhishek looks promising enough to be added to the list.