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IPL 2023: Emergence of young left-handed batters, finishers augurs well for Indian cricket

Left-handedness of Axar Patel was used as either at number six or seven in the absence of Ravindra Jadeja, till India brought Rishabh Pant, who was not a guaranteed starter, in place of Dinesh Karthik in the middle-order. But it was too late an addition as Pant didn’t leave the desired impact as an explosive left-handed batter against Zimbabwe, as well as in the semi-final against England.

In IPL 2023, it has been witnessed that a younger crop of uncapped left-handed batters have emerged to be mainstays for their respective teams in middle as well as lower order. For Suresh Raina, a former left-handed batter for India and Chennai Super Kings, Rinku Singh and Tilak Varma are promising left-handed batting prospects for the national team in middle-order.

"Rinku Singh and Tilak Varma impressed me the most because these two play in the middle-order. Sometimes it becomes very important to see the situation and how the game is going and understanding the demand of the game, which I have really loved about Rinku Singh and Tilak Varma. Rinku hit those five sixes and is batting at another level," said Raina, an IPL expert for JioCinema, in a select virtual interaction.

Rinku, who slammed a four off the final ball against Punjab Kings to keep Kolkata Knight Riders’ playoffs hopes alive on Monday, is the highest run-scorer among lower-order batters from overs 16-20 in IPL 2023, amassing 214 runs in nine innings at a strike-rate of 187.72, while averaging 53.5.

Tilak, on the other hand, has been in scintillating touch for Mumbai Indians, mixing conventional shots with T20 innovations like reverse-heave. He has been the glue for the five-time champions in middle-order and death-overs, combining big-hitting and consistency.

His middle-order numbers of 149 runs in seven innings at an average of 49.67 and strike-rate of 128.45 look impressive. But it is death overs numbers in IPL 2023 which make for a jaw-dropping look: – 118 runs in six innings at an average of 39.33 and strike-rate of 218.52.

Apart from T20Is, Raina also sees potential in Varma to succeed in the middle-order role in ODIs. "Tilak Varma, what a talented player he is – coming in the middle-order and showing what a class player, he is and can play for India very soon. He can take the game forward, which is what is needed when you are looking at number five, six, seven in 50-overs cricket, and the ODI World Cups."

"He also has the ability to finish games for the country. He has a bright future and if he plays the way he’s doing right now in the middle order. We all know what amount of time it will take for Rishabh Pant (to come back to competitive cricket) and moreover, we don’t have a left-handed batter in middle-order. So, we can really use him in middle-order."

Apart from the duo, opener Yashasvi Jaiswal isn’t far off. After hitting six centuries, including two double-hundreds, in the 2022/23 domestic season, Yashasvi has been the aggressor at the top for Rajasthan Royals, scoring 477 runs in 11 innings, averaging 43.36 at a strike-rate of 160.6, including a fantastic 124 against Mumbai Indians.

His numbers make for a glowing look in power-play: – 276 runs in 11 innings at an average of 55.2 and strike-rate of 166.27. "Yashasvi has been putting up Yashasvi (successful) performances in IPL 2023. With the amount of runs he’s scored in domestic cricket; he is ready to play for India in white-ball cricket."

"With the World Cup coming up, he can be opener India are searching for after Shikhar Dhawan, he has that special quality, self-belief and intent, as well as the innate desire to perform in a pressure situation, which has also impressed me a lot," added Raina.

Amidst left-handed batters like Rinku, Varma and Jaiswal ruling the roost, Jitesh Sharma has emerged as a critical right-handed batting option in the last five overs of the competition, seen from his strike-rate of 193.10. One big plus with Jitesh is he is consistently aggressive in hitting against pacers and spinners, an example of which was his unbeaten 49 against Mumbai.

"The way Jitesh Sharma has been batting in the middle-order, he has been playing aggressive cameos consistently and was part of the Indian team before (in T20I series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand this year)."

"He can be a great addition to the middle-order, with his keeping skills also being really good. With more matches coming up, you will see more of his hitting skills. He is impressing everyone with the way he’s batting and selectors will surely think of him as he has a bright future," stated Raina.

The emergence of young left-handed batters as well as the finishers, who can score quick runs consistently across different phases of the game along with big-hitting skills, augurs well for the Indian team, who suddenly have a lot of options to choose from once the international cricket cycle returns.

But making the most out of a plethora of resources in hand will be the key for the national think-tank if they are keen to avoid the confusion seen in the 2022 Men’s T20 World Cup.


Agency News Desk
Agency News Desk
The Agency News Desk comprises team members including Puja T, S Ghadashi, N N Sethi, curate & publish news-worthy domestic & international content from the designated news agencies like Indo Asian News Service, others. The content team can be contacted on and on @glamsham on social media platforms. Kindly visit for more information
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