The 16th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will begin on March 31 and the tournament returns to the home and away format after three years.
Sportstar takes a look at some of the players who grabbed eyeballs at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, India’s domestic T20 competition, this season.
Here is a look at the players who could light the IPL 2023 stage on fire:
PRITHVI SHAW - DELHI CAPITALS
One of the major sub-plots in Indian cricket, over the past year, has been Prithvi Shaw’s exclusion from the Indian team.
After a rather subdued outing in IPL 2022 where he scored 283 runs at an average of 28.30, Shaw made a mark in the domestic competitions that followed.
He particularly stood out in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy where he piled on 332 runs in 10 matches at a whopping strike rate of 183. More often that not, it was Shaw’s attacking strokes that got Mumbai off to flying starts.
By the beginning of 2023, Shaw was able to eke out a place for himself in the Indian team. However, he could not make the starting 11. Captain Hardik Pandya said that he’d have to wait his turn.
In IPL 2023, Shaw will play for Delhi Capitals, a franchise that he’s been a part of for quite some time now. This will be a perfect chance for Shaw to further impose himself as an opening option for the Indian team ahead of the 2024 World Cup.
JITESH SHARMA - PUNJAB KINGS
The wicketkeeper-batter from Vidarbha first made people take notice of his exploits in IPL 2022. He took up the finisher role and impressed with his ability to find quick runs.
In the season, Sharma managed a total of 224 runs in 12 innings, at an average of 29.25 and strike rate of over 163. His rich-vein of form continued in the following season as well.
In the 2022-23 season, Sharma impressed in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy where he scored 224 runs in 10 innings. His average for this period was 56 and the strike rate 175. It was based on this that Sharma earned a call up to the Indian side for the Sri Lanka series.
This season, Sharma will be one of the mainstays in the Punjab King team and shoulder the responsibilty to give an explosive conclusion to the side’s innings.
RAJAT PATIDAR - ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
In 2022, Rajat Patidar stole the limelight at the grandest stage possible - the IPL Playoffs. He put his stroke-making prowess on display in the Eliminator against Lucknow Super Giants, recording a 54-ball 112. He then hit a half-century in Qualifier 2 against Rajasthan Royals.
The dream run did not stop for Patidar. A month later, he was marshalling Madhya Pradesh to a Ranji Trophy title. In the 2022-23 SMAT, Patidar fired 272 runs in just six innings. His purple patch continued in the Ranji Trophy as well.
The India call-up came too for Patidar but he is yet to breach the first 11. If he can pick from where he left off for RCB in 2022, Patidar will be one the stars of the tournament this year.
PRABHSIMRAN SINGH - PUNJAB KINGS
It might be finally time for Prabhsimran Singh to make his mark in the IPL. His current stats tally of 64 runs in six matches, across four seasons, certainly does not paint the real picture.
Prabhsimran is the latest batting talent to emerge from Punjab. His 320 runs in this season’s Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy included four fifties. He was the third-highest run getter in the tournament and averaged over 50.
Mayank Agarwal’s exit from Punjab Kings offers the perfect opportunity for Prabhsimran. He could take the opener slot and partner captain Shikhar Dhawan.
TILAK VARMA - MUMBAI INDIANS
In 2022, Tilak Varma gave glimpses of why Mumbai Indians had shelled out Rs 1.7 crore for a 20-year-old. He played all 14 games for the five-time champion and contributed 397 runs.
After his success at the Under-19 World Cup in 2020, Varma showed that he could hold his own at the senior level during the SMAT 2021/22. He played just seven games for Hyderabad but amassed 215 runs. His strike rate of 147.26 was particularly impressive.
In 2022/23, he took a notch further. He averaged 49.50, as he hit 297 runs in just six innings. He hit four fifties and was in the top 10 run scorers list.
VIDWATH KAVERAPPA - PUNJAB KINGS
Vidwath Kaverappa’s impressive haul of 18 wickets from eight games for Karnataka in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy saw Punjab Kings shell out Rs 20 lakh for his services in the IPL 2023 auction.
While the 22-year-old might not be at the top of the pecking order, given Punjab’s strong pace battery which includes Arshdeep Singh, Baltej Singh and Rishi Dhawan, we just might get a few glimpses of the right-arm pacer.
Mohali has been a stadium known to offer assistance to pacers. In addition, with Kagiso Rabada set to join the squad late due to national duty, Kaverappa could be the third seam option in the initial games.
YASHASVI JAISWAL - RAJASTHAN ROYALS
2022 was the best year in Yashasi Jaiswal’s career. He scored tons, and double tons across the List A and First-Class competitions for Mumbai.
In the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Jaiswal accumulated 266 runs in nine innings at a strike rate over 140. Even though the southpaw remains in a contest with Devdutt Paddikal for the opener role alongside Jos Buttler, his place in the playing 11 is certain due to his ability to walk down at number three and four.
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