IPL 2023: How Mumbai Indians youngsters turning things this season? Tilak Varma, Nehal Wadhera, Akash Madhwal, Kumar Kartikeya, Arshad Khan and Hritik Shokeen to name a few.
Mumbai Indians broke the bank to get the services of England pace bowler Jofra Archer for INR 8 crore in the 2022 IPL auction although he was unavailable to play that season due to injury. The prospect of Jasprit Bumrah and Archer bowling in tandem was something that Mumbai Indians hoped for in the IPL 2023, expecting these two bowling stars to help them win another title.
But cut to IPL 2023, Bumrah is injured, and an off-colour Archer bagged 2 wickets in 5 games in the ongoing season before getting injured again. Also, buying Archer at a huge sum cost Mumbai hard as they didn’t have much funds available to buy other star players. They have had to put their money on uncapped Indian youngsters who came for as low as INR 20 lakh as their base price.
Youngsters have saved the day for MI
It became a blessing in disguise for Mumbai as the youngsters that the franchise bet on are finally delivering the goods in IPL 2023. Although their performances have not been consistent, they have made impact batting or bowling performances to make critics take note of their talent and hail them as future Indian national prospects.
Let’s take a look at these Indian youngsters who are finally making it count.
Akash Madhwal was brought in as an injury replacement for Suryakumar Yadav in IPL 2022, but he didn’t get a single game that season. In IPL 2023, as Mumbai Indians pace bowling options looked bare, Akash was handed his maiden IPL cap. The youngster had a forgettable debut, going for 37 for no wickets against PBKS.
Madhwal bagged his maiden IPL wicket when he dismissed Devon Conway of CSK. However, he reserved his best for Gujarat Titans where he took 3/31 while opening the bowling. He bowled superb lengths to dismiss GT openers, Wriddhiman Saha and Shubman Gill, and David Miller. His best delivery was the disguised cutter that rapped Miller on the pads and caught him bang in front of the stumps. Madhwal has just four wickets in 5 games, but he has already shown that he has the skills to elongate his stay with Mumbai.
The left-arm pacer was picked by Mumbai in IPL 2022 auction but he didn’t play a single match that season as he was ruled out due to injury. But an injury to Jasprit Bumrah saw Arshad back in the reckoning for IPL 2023. The first few games he didn’t have much of an impact, but it was the game against Rajasthan Royals that saw him being among the wickets when all other bowlers went for plenty. He took the prize wickets of Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson and Shimron Hetmyer to bag 3/39.
Overall, he has 5 wickets to show in 6 games, but he has definitely grabbed his share of limelight. For the records, he was the highest wicket-taker with 36 wickets in Under-25 CK Nayudu Trophy 2019-20, and also scored 400 runs, including a ton. A possible all-rounder for Mumbai?
Tilak Varma has shown his brilliance in the last season itself, and he has definitely enhanced it in the ongoing campaign. He has shown great skills, temperament, technique as a reliable batter in the top-order. In the first match for Mumbai this season against RCB, he bailed the team out with a knock of 84 not out off 46 balls when the team was struggling at 20/3, but the innings came in a losing cause. He also had a few other brilliant cameos to finish off games for Mumbai. In the return game against RCB at Mumbai, Varma scored a cameo of 29-ball 41 at no.3 to show he has the shots to go all out against the opposition.
At just 20, Verma looks a bright prospect for Indian cricket. Overall, he has scored 274 runs at an average of 45.67 and strike rate of 158.38 in 9 games for Mumbai so far.
Another youngster who has made critics sit and take notice of his talent. The best thing Mumbai did was persist with him even though he had the initial few poor starts. Nehal Wadhera scored just 67 runs in his first four innings in IPL 2023, but he made three scores of above 40 in his next three innings, including two fifties. He first anchored Mumbai innings with a knock of 64 in a losing cause against CSK. But in the next match, he played a counter-attacking innings of 34-ball 52 not out against RCB, but it was reduced to a footnote as Suryakumar Yadav dominated proceedings with a knock of 83. Nevertheless, Wadhera has become an important cog in Mumbai’s line-up and looks a bright prospect for the future.
Other promising youngsters
Three other youngsters of Mumbai may not have set the IPL stage on fire, but they have shown few glimpses of brilliance during the tournament. Right-arm off-break bowler Hrithik Shokeen has taken 3 wickets in 7 games, left-arm wrist spinner Kumar Kartikeya has taken 5 wickets in 6 games and left-arm seamer Arjun Tendulkar has taken 3 wickets from the 4 games he represented MI. All are bright prospects for the future as Mumbai look to build on the youngster model. Also, bowling with an experienced spinner Piyush Chawla will definitely help them enhance their skills and turn up with better performances in the future.