IPL 2023 Auction: Who is Himanshu Sharma, the new find of Royal Challengers Bangalore? RCB bought unheard Himanshu Sharma for INR 20 Lakhs.
Himanshu hails from Sikar district of Rajasthan. The 24-year-old is a leg-spinner. During an interview with ABP News, he recounted the story of his selection. Himanshu began practicing at the Jaipuria Cricket Academy in Jaipur.
Rohit Jhalani, the academy’s coach, provided able guidance to him. The 24-year-old spends a total of 7-8 hours practicing here every day, including morning and evening sessions.
Himanshu has not played a single competitive match yet, but still he was bought by RCB at his base price of INR 20 lakhs. So, how and when RCB came to know about him and decided to invest in him?
Hinterland Scouting unearths new talent
If Himanshu has bagged an IPL contract, it is all thanks to RCB’s scouting programme that looks to unearth bowling talent across the length and breadth of the country. This particular scouting programme has been called “hinterland scouting” by RCB. Malolan Rangarajan, who is the Head of Scouting at RCB, says this hinterland scouting programme is a “very objective way of identifying talent”.
In this programme, technology is used to find the next bowling gem across the country as it would be difficult to identify talent through human scouts.
As per RCB, they have had over 10,000 registrations and 50-60 per cent attendance in the last few years through this programme, but only a handful of players such as Himanshu have made the cut.
Rangarajan says they identified Himanshu through their hinterland scouting programme a year ago and had been tracking him since. He says Himanshu was also invited to train with the RCB team before they decided to bid on him in the 2023 IPL auction.
“We tested Himanshu according to our standard drills,” claims Rangarajan. “He is extremely skilled and has the ability to bowl both ways,” Rangarajan adds. He says RCB wants to invest in such players and develop them for the future.
However, it is highly unlikely that Himanshu will get a game in IPL 2023 as Sri Lankan leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga will be the first-choice spinner in the XI. The second spinning option will be Shahbaz Ahmed, followed by Karn Sharma. But if both Hasaranga and Karn Sharma are injured or not available, Himanshu may get a look-in. But he is more likely to be a net bowler this season as he is still a work in progress and needs a lot of exposure to competitive cricket to get a chance in the first XI.
But getting an IPL contract is definitely a dream come true moment for Himanshu, who could not have been unearthed by RCB’s scouting programme if he had not switched to bowling for unavoidable reasons. He was quoted as saying by a media group that he switched to bowling as he could not afford money to buy the cricketing gear to play as a batter.
“I wanted to become a batter as I enjoyed seeing AB de Villiers bat. But I could not ask my father for money to buy the kit as there was the pressure of studies,” Himanshu was quoted as saying. And he switched to bowling, and the rest is history.
Jammu & Kashmir’s Avinash Singh another talent unearthed by RCB
Another product of RCB’s scouting programme is Avinash Singh, who has also bagged a contract in IPL 2023 auction at INR 60 lakhs. “Avinash’s ability to bowl 145 kmph was the point of difference, and if we go by our plan, Avinash has the ability to touch 150 kmph in the future,” says Rangarajan.
Avinash is from Jammu and Kashmir and has failed multiple times to join the Indian Army. He could not even afford bowling shoes once but come IPL 2023, he will turn out in an RCB jersey, thanks to RCB’s hinterland scouting programme.
IPL 2023 will be tentatively held in April-May this year.