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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Cricket Columns

Vihari, Vohra set benchmark for youngsters
Javagal Srinath
April 09, 2013
First Published: 01:59 IST(9/4/2013)
Last Updated: 02:03 IST(9/4/2013)

Each year, the T20 league throws up young Indian cricketers who are reasonably successful in domestic cricket but who simply thrive on the big stage. Cricket is often a game played between the ears.

As India aim for a professional approach in all aspects of cricket, it’s worth mentioning that these young players showcase to the world what brave new India is all about.

Rising value
It's through the league that reputations are established. That's not to suggest that the domestic structure isn't a contributing factor, because players only get into the league on the basis of domestic performances. But such is the gulf in the perception of domestic cricket and the T20 league that even the odd good performance in the league will have that much more impact on the psyche of the fans than a season full of consistently good efforts in slightly less visible tournaments.

In keeping with the trend of relative unknowns surging to the fore, we had two excellent performances on Sunday. Hanuma Vihari isn't a total stranger to the top level, he was a part of the India U-19 team that won the World Cup in Australia last year.

Smooth transition
But Vihari seems to have made a seamless transition. The wicket of Chris Gayle was perhaps a happy coincidence, but the calmness with which he marshalled the run chase against Bangalore was anything but coincidental. He didn't look out of place against a versatile Bangalore attack.

Interestingly enough, Vihari only made it to the World Cup because Manan Vohra was injured before the competition. I liked the way Vohra took the fight to the Pune Warriors. Agreed, Kings XI were only chasing 100 for victory, but it was Vohra's league debut and up against him was a good Pune bowling unit. He played fearlessly and batted his team through to victory, another trait commendable in one so young.

TCM/Hawkeye

The writer is a former India pacer


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