by Tara Hebbar and Tanvi Mittal

Since the IPL started in 2008, it’s touched and changed many people’s lives. We’ve grown to love the teams and players for their extraordinary talent and remarkable skill. We think of all the older, advanced cricket players but a new generation of cricketers have arisen shocking us with their incredible flair for the sport. Many of these players are so young, yet they look like professionals on the field with a tremendous amount of talent and knack for the game. These players have extraordinary backgrounds and come from all around the world!

Ravi Bishnoi, the 20-year-old who has proved that where there is a will, there is most definitely a way! His father being the headmaster of a school, it wasn’t easy to convince him on a sports career. Moreover, his town didn’t offer a cricket facility, but this didn’t stop Ravi from following his dreams. One of his friends and he started their own academy, he says

Our ground used to be just a patch of barren land filled with rocks. We cleared those rocks ourselves because back then we couldn’t afford a JCB truck. Then, we planted the grass on the ground ourselves, the special red mud needed for the wicket was also ordered by us, and we leveled the playing surface as well.

He showed his talent off at the under -19 world cup where he took 17 wickets and now he continues to flair his talent in his maiden IPL with the team KXII Punjab!

Devdutt Padikkal, RCB player who has been nothing short of impressive during his maiden IPL this year. Though his shots have been power-packed and diverse, and his fielding has been impeccable, he admits to being nervous prior to playing his first match against SRH, where he scored a dazzling 50. He says to Chahal following the game, “I was very nervous upon hearing the news of making my debut. But when I came to bat I settled down after playing a few balls.” He went on to talk about the inspiration he has derived from the captain of the team, saying “The last one month that we practiced, I learnt a lot from Virat bhaiya. I kept asking him questions whenever I was around him. Even today, when I was playing with Finch, he showed a lot of confidence in me.” This shows the role a captain plays in encouraging young minds and cricketers and being a pillar of support for them.

We follow with Shubhman Gill, the run machine who owes his splendid career to his father. “Shubman was interested in the sport from a very young age. He started wielding a bat at the age of three. He never liked any other toys. He would play with a bat and a ball even before going to bed,” says his father, Lakhwinder Singh. His father had a lifelong dream of playing professional cricket but unfortunately never got to, and hence installed it into his son, who made his life long, and power six. His father even moved his family to Mohali so that Shubham could have access to the best facilities. This IPL Shubhman Gill has proved to be an integral part of the KKR’s team and a player who has a bright and successful future ahead of himself. 

We observe yet another inspiring cricket story in the likes of Priyam Garg, match finisher for team SRH, this year. His father had severe financial difficulties and though he did recognize his son’s cricket talent, having 5 kids he had no money to buy a bat, forget coaching. After realizing his true potential Priyams father borrowed money to find a coach for Priyam and enrolled him under the coaching of  Sanjay Rastogi, who had recognized cricketers such as Bhuvi. Though Priyam first wanted to become a fast bowler, Rastogi encouraged him to focus on his batting. In 2011, after the death of his mother, Priyam contemplated quitting cricket to assist his father in running the household but this was not allowed to do this after his father encouraged him to continue. He then succeeded in the Under – 19 world cup, and again in this IPL. This highlights how vital parental support can help children.

Prithvi Shaw is a 20-year-old star with an inspiring story that started at the young age of three. After playing throughout his childhood, Prithvi continued to play in and lead his team in many big tournaments including being the captain for the U-19 Indian team in the U-19 ICC 2018 where they won against West Indies when he was just 18 years old. However, this all changed in late 2019 when Shaw failed a dope test. mentioned in their article that “A release from the Board said Shaw had ‘inadvertently ingested a prohibited substance, which can be commonly found in cough syrups’.” Shaw then faced a 16-month suspension for his actions. Soon after former star and cricket legend, Sachin Tendulkar talked to Shaw as he often does with younger players. Tendulkar said during an interview, “It’s true. I have had a number of interactions over the years with Prithvi. He is a very talented player and I am happy to help him. I spoke to him about cricket and also life beyond the cricket field,” he said. Prithvi’s back on track playing for the Delhi Capitals and is an excellent cricketer and leader and has been playing cricket like never before. 

Sam Curran, a 22-year-old left-handed batsman tells a bold story with his bat and the ball. This young, especially talented cricketer is as effortless with his batting, as he is as a left-handed medium-paced bowler. Over the course of an India Series in 2018, Curran took eleven wickets and has scored crucial runs for his teams. He continued to have an amazing performance, but where did it start? He was born and raised in Newhampton, England. His dad was a Zimbabwean all-rounder and Curran learned from him, his love of cricket started there. He and his brother Tom who now plays for the Rajasthan Royals started playing at Surrey, a club in England. Surrey knew that Tom was a gem right away. And they were right as Curran’s time in the IPL playing first for Kings 11 Punjab and now Chennai Super Kings has been nothing short of impressive. 

25-year-old Sanju Samson is making runs like it’s a breeze. This year in the IPL it’s Rajasthan Royals player Samson’s true time to shine. On multiple occasions he has made an extraordinary score, blowing everyone’s minds. But just last year things were different for him. In an interview for the Hindustan Times, he said, “I was really fed up of myself last year. I had been trying very hard but things were not happening. Then I really went back to myself, did a bit of soul-searching and I really asked myself lots of different questions. Like, ‘What do I want to achieve in my life?’ and ‘Where do I want to reach until my cricket career finishes?’’ After this, Samson came back stronger than ever for the 2020 IPL. For his first two, consecutive matches Sanju was made Man of the Match after his excellent performance. This shows how with dedication and the spirit to win, your willpower can bring you up to stronger than ever. 

All these different examples just show how youngsters of IPL have been picked from the most unusual of places and how they all have a story to tell and people to thank. But most of all it’s their respective teams that can thank them for the “power plays” of IPL have proved to be nothing but impressive this season, each one contributing to their team’s victories in one way or another. 

A collection of articles by the students of Ascend International School