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IPL 2024: Meet Naman Dhir - Mumbai Indians' new recruit

IPL 2024: Meet Naman Dhir - Mumbai Indians' new recruit. Who is Naman Dhir, all you need to know about him.

IPL 2024: Meet Naman Dhir - Mumbai Indians' new recruit. Who is Naman Dhir, all you need to know about him. Walking Wicket (Images_ ©IPL_X)
IPL 2024: Naman Dhir plays for Mumbai Indians (Images: ©IPL/X)

Apart from their five trophies in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Mumbai Indians (MI) carry a constant commitment to offering young players a huge platform to perform. It’s a part of their legacy. In their opening game of IPL 2024, the joint most successful franchise of the league handed a debut to young Naman Dhir from Punjab. The 24-year-old walked in at number three when Ishan Kishan fell in the first over during their chase of 169. 

Addressing Naman Dhir- The certified finisher and an unexplored gem

Dhir made his first-class debut in the 2022-23 Ranji Trophy season and his T20 debut in the last Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT). He was part of Punjab’s winning squad in the domestic T20 league. 

Sunday’s game against Gujarat Titans (GT) was just his sixth T20 game at the senior level. The right-handed batter is yet to feature in a 50-over game in domestic cricket. It was quite unbelievable how Mumbai believed in the small sample size to sign him for INR 20 lakh at the mini-auctions. 

The social media platform of the ‘blue brigade’ narrates him as an ‘unexplored cricket gem’ and a ‘certified finisher.’ In the four T20 innings, Dhir has scored just 39 runs at an average of 9.75 with a highest score of just 17. 

However, he caught the attention last year in the Sher-E-Punjab T20 Cup, a state T20 league organized by the Punjab Cricket Association. In 12 innings in the competition, the power hitter was the second-highest run-getter with 466 runs at an average of 42.36 and a strike rate of 192.56. Two of his centuries were remarkable- 127 off 56 balls and 104 in 44 deliveries laced with a total of 30 sixes in the tournament. 

Recently he was part of the Reliance 1 squad in the DY Patil T20 Cup. He warmed up with 109 runs in four games at a strike rate of 149.32, including one half-century. 

Naman’s strong zone is playing powerful shots in the ‘V,’ as well as lofting over the cover and extra cover. Neither does he carry a trigger movement against pace or spin; nor does he clear his front leg. These are the things he is likely to improve in his career. His high back lift develops his power hitting and helps him connect with the ball with greater force. 

Naman displayed sheer promise in a small 20-run knock against GT

Coming into his maiden IPL game, Naman never experienced a crazy atmosphere with close to 80 thousand spectators. After losing Kishan in the first over in a 169-run chase, the kid was under pressure. But was he nervous? Definitely not! 

He leaves the first ball, before pushing for a quick risky single to mid-off on the very next ball. Dhir lofted Azmatullah Omarzai for a brilliant on-drive for his first boundary in the league. The power of the shot took the mid-on fielder out of the equation. 

The bowler went short on the next ball, which Naman pulled over wide mid-on for another fine boundary. Omarzai looked to bowl straight but Mumbai’s ‘new sensational No. 3’ went inside the line and whipped it over backward square leg for another boundary. 

The shot of the evening was when he brought out his lofted off-drive and found the sweet spot on the bat to clear long-off for a straight six. Naman’s power of scoring through the ‘V’ puts him on a different list. Such was the class of that six that even Rohit Sharma from the other end couldn’t help smiling. 

For someone to come at a vital stage for a huge franchise like the Mumbai Indians, and score runs freely speaks about the mental strength of the player. Naman smashed 20 runs in 10 balls with three boundaries and one six in the knock to offer MI the perfect rhythm in the powerplay.  

“Kudos to the scouts, all the guys who work behind the scenes to unearth these sorts of talent within India.” Kieron Pollard, Mumbai's batting coach spoke after the match. “Let him enjoy the moment, it’s a big occasion for these guys.”

Additionally, he is an excellent fielder. The way Naman ran from deep backward square leg and dived full-length forward to grab Rahul Tewatia just inches over the grass showed his commitment. 

The ‘Wonder Boy’ needs to take care of a few bating judgments in his game. If he does so, it won’t be long before he becomes one of the vital members of the Mumbai Indians franchise. Naman will be in action when MI takes on Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on March 27 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad. 


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