HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014
Young Mandeep takes up the challenge
Kaushik Chatterji, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, May 13, 2012
First Published: 00:24 IST(13/5/2012)
Last Updated: 02:24 IST(13/5/2012)

In the inaugural season of the IPL, an award was instituted for the most outstanding under-19 player, which ultimately went to Shreevats Goswami.

Not that the RCB wicketkeeper-batsman had much in the way of competition - a half-century sealed it in his favour among a pool of eight rookies who made an appearance in, on an average, three matches.

Cut to the present, and despite the league's definition of youth having been modified to include everyone till the age of 23, there still aren't too many contenders for the rising star award, mostly because of the franchises' reluctance to give these young guns a shot. There are nearly 50 players who are under the age of 23, but only a dozen have got the opportunity to feature in at least half their side's fixtures.

One exception is Mandeep Singh. Strong performances in age-group cricket got him into the IPL, but in his first two seasons, first with the Knight Riders in 2010 and then with the Kings XI last year, he failed to do anything noteworthy. "Before this season, I used to come in lower down the order. This time, though, the team backed me, the credit for which goes to Vikram paaji (Rathour), who has seen me at the state level, and (David) Hussey, who has observed me since my KKR days," says Mandeep, Punjab's leading run-scorer in IPL V.

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