Ex-IPL analyst identifies India's next big finisher

He occupies a unique role within the Indian team, swiftly taking on bowlers and contributing to the team without requiring a settling-in period.
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The landscape of Indian cricket is ever-promising with multiple talents hoping to consolidate their spots in the national team. The IPL has buoyed the chances by acting as a springboard to create a rich pool and provide more squad depth. Coming up from this recent crop of IPL stars, Jitesh Sharma recently made his debut in the T20 series against Australia. 

Sharma's international career has 64 runs in three T20I innings, at an average of 21.33 and a strike rate of 164.1. While these figures may not elicit a resounding "wow," it's essential to consider the limited sample size. Jitesh occupies a unique role within the Indian team, entering the game at No. 6, swiftly taking on bowlers and contributing to the team without requiring a settling-in period.

Examining statistics, Rinku Singh (187.5), Suryakumar Yadav (171.23) and Venkatesh Iyer (170.42) stand out as the only batters with superior strike rates when batting at No. 5 or below for India. For those who have observed Jitesh's performances in the Indian Premier League and the India-Australia series, it is evident that he possesses the potential to make a game-changing impact.

Former PBKS analyst credits Anil Kumble for recognising Jitesh Sharma

This promise caught the attention of Punjab Kings, leading them to sign Jitesh for Rs 20 lakh in the 2022 mega auction. Cricket Strategist & Recruitment Analyst Dan Weston, who was affiliated with the franchise back then, attributes credit to the then head coach Anil Kumble and scout Sankar Rajgopal for recognizing and securing the services of Jitesh. Notably, Jitesh had exhibited his prowess by smashing 214 runs at an impressive average of 53.5 and a staggering strike rate of 235.16 in the 2021-22 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

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"He's a world class player, but with additional risk comes additional volatility. So you have to be very patient with players who play an attacking game. But I think as well these players reflect the new breed of T20 cricket. I think most countries — India, England and Australia too — are too kind of preoccupied with players playing multiple formats when they actually should be looking for that specialist more. And I think that Jitesh is a really good example of that new breed of player." says Weston, who runs Sports Analytics Advantage.

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