In less than a week from now, the play-offs of IPL IV would have got underway, with four teams still in the mix and the rest reflecting on the campaign gone by. There has been a reasonable emergence of young talent, and their progress over the next couple of years will be followed with great
Taking a holistic approach, from an Indian perspective, it's good to see quite a few young men put their hand up. It's up to them now to build on their successes here, and try and take the next step forward.
Valthaty the star
Paul Valthaty has been the undisputed Indian batting star of the competition outside of those who have already played for the country. Manoj Tiwary and Ambati Rayudu, IPL regulars who have been around on the domestic circuit for a while now, have also impressed, but for me, it has been heartening to follow the success stories of Rahul Sharma and S Aravind.
Such is the nature of T20 that obviously, the batsmen will do well. What's been impressive is the way some young bowlers have made their presence felt.
Leg-spinner Rahul Sharma has emerged as a surprise element. Alongside Piyush Chawla and Amit Mishra, he has thrown his hat into the ring as well.
He has come on as a strong contender, and anyone who performs as consistently in Twenty20 as he has done can't be ignored. You need to be mentally strong as a bowler, and especially as a wrist spinner, to keep delivering match after match. Rahul has done that for the Pune Warriors.
The other dark horse, to me, has been Aravind. He is someone who has been instrumental in Karnataka's successes in Ranji Trophy in the last two seasons. He looks fairly innocuous, but his action is very deceptive. I am sure he will have a huge role to play, both for Karnataka in the next domestic season, and for RCB in IPL V.
While some of the unheralded bowlers have made a mark, the reputed ones haven't necessarily had the successes one would have expected of them. Dale Steyn and Brett Lee have had a couple of good spells here and there, but the consistency in Tests and one-dayers they have shown hasn't aligned itself in T20. The same applies to Shaun Tait and to an extent Zaheer, who found the going tough initially.