Swastik Chikara: 18-year-old batting prodigy on KKR, MI, and RR's Radar in IPL 2024 Auction

With a powerhouse of talent, the young batting sensation can land an IPL contract on the merit of his exemplary domestic performances. 
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The Indian Premier League has been a springboard for young talents over the years, giving them a global platform to showcase their mettle and skillset. With another auction around the corner, eyes will once again be on the stars of the future. IPL teams have a history of investing heavily in young sensations who have later gone on to become superstars. 

One such talent who will be on the radar of top franchises during the IPL 2024 auction is 18-year-old Swastik Chikara. Notably, Swastik Chikara base price has been set for 20 lakhs in the auction.

He made his debut for Uttar Pradesh last month with an impressive century in the Vijaya Hazare Trophy. The 18-year-old also garnered attention by delivering some standout performances in the UP T20 League, including three centuries and two half-centuries, held during August-September.

According to reports, Swastik has also participated in trials for Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, and Rajasthan Royals. His father remains optimistic about his chances of securing a bid in the upcoming mini-auction scheduled for December 19, citing his notable performances in the domestic circuit so far.

How Swastik Chikara's father became a guiding force?

Coming from a family deeply rooted in athletics, with a grandfather who was a sprinter and a father who excelled in shot put and long-distance running, Surender Chhikara aspired for his children to pursue sports. The journey began in 2008 when Surender, a graduate of the NIS coaching course, observed Swastik's growing interest in cricket.

However, it was not easy to find a dedicated coach for Swastik and it turned out to be an uphill task. In an excerpt published by New Indian Express, Swastik's father said, "My wife Sudha used to take him to a cricket academy in Ghaziabad. It was around 16km from our home in Muradnagar. But the coach there was doing nothing except asking trainees to run and pick the balls. We tried at a few more academies but in vain. Then I decided to train Swastik."

His father has done it all- from curating wickets with his own hand to buying his son a bowling machine, overcoming all his struggles to ensure the best training. 

His father hit another roadblock when Swastik started longing for pace bowling. "I can bowl but the pace was not there. To make up for it, I bought a bowling machine in 2015. In the meantime, I continued developing more wickets to suit to different demands of Swastik. Overall now the place has 12 practice wickets," Surender said. 

The hard work soon started paying dividends as Swastik started scoring runs in bulk.

Swastik Chikara - First claim to fame

Swastik first came under the spotlight in 2019 when he delivered a remarkable performance, scoring 585 runs in 167 balls during a local tournament. This outstanding inning by the young opener not only showcased his cricketing prowess but also contributed to his team setting a world record with a total score of 704 runs. Following this feat, Chikara earned a spot in the Uttar Pradesh U25 team for the Col CK Nayudu Trophy in January of the subsequent year.

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He performed well, accumulating 371 runs in six matches with an impressive average of 53.00. However, Uttar Pradesh bowed out of the tournament in the quarterfinals against Punjab, losing by an innings and 16 runs.

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