KPL 2017: 5 young talents that emerged this season
The Karnataka Premier League 2017 played host to some spectacular talents who made a mark with some consistent performances for their respective teams. While most teams often depend on the presence of stalwarts, the youngsters this time stepped up to the plate and made a huge difference.
For a long time now, since its inception, the Karnataka Premier League has been single-handedly responsible for nurturing the talent corresponding to the limited-overs format and this season was no different.
The youngsters made optimum use of the opportunities presented to them and rose up to the occasion, earning themselves a tag as ones to look out for in the future. Here are five such youngsters who shone this season.
#5 Pradeep T (Namma Shivamogga)
Matches - 6| Wickets - 10| Average - 12.7|
One of the biggest success stories for Namma Shivamogga this season that saw them reach the semifinals is undoubtedly Pradeep's skill with the ball in hand.
Opening the bowling attack for Shivamogga against the Bijapur Bulls, the youngster stuck to the basics, prising out four crucial wickets and in the process, stemmed the run flow to give him confidence.
The medium-pacer followed up his previous performance with another good one against the Hubli Tigers, picking one wicket and giving away 32 runs from his four overs. Against the Bengaluru Blasters, Pradeep did well both at the start and at the death overs as he picked up two important scalps.
In their final league game against Mysuru, Pradeep picked two wickets from two overs that saw him finish the tournament with 10 wickets and the tag of the third highest wicket-taker of KPL 2017.
#4 Abhinav Manohar (Ballari Tuskers)
Matches - 5| Runs - 117| Average - 23.4| Strike Rate - 188.7
One of the key members of the Ballari Tuskers middle-order, Abhinav Manohar slotted into the finisher's role right from the first game of the tournament, when he blasted an 18-ball 35 laced with four sixes and one four to take Ballari close to victory.
In the next match against Mysuru, Abhinav walked in with the Tuskers tottering at 70-4 while chasing 162 and his whirlwind knock of 47 from just 24 balls ensured the Tuskers registered their first win of the tournament whilst also earning him the MOM award. Against the Panthers, the right-hander scored a quickfire 10-ball 21 but it did not suffice as the Tuskers went on to lose the game.
A rare failure against Bengaluru in their next game after being pushed up the order was followed by a 5-ball 12 run cameo comprising a six and a four, as the big-hitter finished with 117 runs from 5 games at an outstanding strike rate of 188.7.
#3 Mohammad Taha (Bijapur Bulls)
Matches - 8| Runs - 170| Average - 21.25| Strike Rate - 133.85.
With an approach closely resembling Virender Sehwag's, Taha's attacking style often got Bijapur Bulls off to a rollicking start. The opener often displayed fearless batting as he smacked the fast bowlers and spinners with disdain.
Taha did not have the greatest of starts, with scores of 3 and 18 in the first two matches, but in a crucial game against the Hubli Tigers, he smashed his way to a scintillating 45-ball 83, laced with 9 sixes and 4 fours.
After small but important contributions in the remaining matches, Taha ended the season with a decent average of just over 21, but what made him stand out was his fielding. Fielding primarily at point, Taha put in the timely dives and saves that earned him the 'Fielder of the Season' award.
#2 Vyshak Vijaykumar (Mysuru Warriors)
Matches - 6| Wickets - 10| Average - 21| Economy - 7.52
Pacy and gifted with the knack to trouble batsmen with considerable swing and bounce off the surface, Vyshak was an integral part of the Mysuru Warriors setup.
Steaming in and delivering the ball with a side-arm action, Vyshak generated appreciable movement off the surface and with a performance of 2/17 against Bijapur that earned him the Man of the Match award, he announced his stunning arrival in the KPL.
Following his match-winning performance, Vyshak's confidence grew and the pacer picked a wicket or two in every game.
Bowling with lively pace and a hunger to scalp wickets, Vyshak failed in just the one game against the Panthers, with a high economy rate, but managed to pick a wicket. In the Warriors' final league game, Vyshak picked two wickets to end the tournament on a high, with 10 scalps from six games.
#1 Shubhang Hegde (Belagavi Panthers)
Arguably one of the best talents of KPL 2017, Shubhang Hegde was the centre of attraction when he came on to bowl against the Hubli Tigers in the opening match. Although he did not pick a wicket, his accuracy was admirable and he was touted as one to watch out for in the season and for no small reason.
The 16-year-old left-arm spinner enjoyed a rather successful KPL 2017, and playing for Belagavi Panthers, the youngster did not disappoint. Mixing his bag of tricks cleverly, Shubhang depended on subtle variations in pace and length.
From eight matches, he picked up seven wickets at a stunning economy of just 6.31 with the highlight being his spell of 4-1-8-2 in the all-important final that led the Panthers to the title. His consistent performances were rewarded as he rightfully won the 'Emerging Player of the Season' award.