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Journalism of Courage

3D characters: Who are the Indian batsmen who can also bowl?

Wth India desperately looking for batting allrounders, here is a look at a few upcoming talents who can be considered for selection going forward.

Abhishek Sharma Riyan Parag Nitish Rana and Abdul Samad. (BCCI/File)

Indian players Rohit Sharma, Shikar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav hardly bowl anymore at the international level.

It is in total contrast to the previous era where the likes of Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina call could chip in with the ball when the team needed.

However, in the last decade, batters who could bowl have become a rarity in Indian cricket, especially in white ball. Rohit Sharma who used to bowl handy off-spin early on in his career has stopped bowling due to injury concerns. This has led to the team struggling to get the balance right in big ticket events where they need to compromise either on batting depth or six bowling options.

So going forward, who can be the options for India? Let us look at some candidates from domestic white ball tournaments, who can also bowl…

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Abhishek Sharma
The explosive left-hand batter, who bats in the middle-order as well as at the top for Punjab and regularly bowls proper orthodox left-arm spin. The 22-year-old has scored 218 runs at an average of 42 in this year’s Vijay Hazare trophy. With the ball, he has picked up 12 wickets from seven games with a best of 5/41. Abhishek has scored 1138 runs at an average of 33.47 with the bat and picked up 21 wickets in 38 games at the List A level. In 67 T20s, he strikes at an impressive 135.04 and at an average of 27.84. With the ball, he has picked up 26 wickets at an impressive economy of 6.38. He is part of Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL.

Riyan Parag
The gutsy Assam middle-order player has been in scintillating form in this season’s Vijay Hazare Trophy. He scored 537 runs at an impressive average of 77 and with a strike rate of 122. The batter has scored three hundreds in the tournament so far and took his side to the semifinal. One of the promising young talents in the circuit, he has scored 1338 in his List A career so far with an average touch under 40 and a strike rate of 96.63. He is a handy off-spinner too. He has picked up 21 wickets in his 34 outings. In domestic T20s, he strikes at 133 and at an average of 26 with the bat. With the ball, he has picked up 30 wickets in his 80 appearances so far.

Lalit Yadav
The Delhi’s player had an impressive Vijay Hazare this season with the ball, where he picked up nine wickets from seven games at an impressive economy of 3.53. Apart from being a handy off-spinner, Yadav is a solid middle-order batter who can shepherd the innings through. He averages 41 from 36 List-A games and has scored 835 runs. With the ball, he has picked up 39 wickets with an economy of just 4.50. In T20s Yadav averages 37 at a strike rate of 137 with the bat. With the ball, he has picked up 40 wickets from 67 outings with an economy of 7.


Abdul Samad
Another raw talent, who can be nurtured. He is a handy Apart from being a handy leg-spinner for Jammu & Kashmir, Samad is one of the cleanest hitters going around in domestic circuit. Has scored 494 runs from 20 List A games at a strike rate of 116.78 and with the ball the 21-year-old has picked up six wickets from 20 games. In T20s he has a destructive strike rate of 148. With the ball, he has picked up four wickets from 53 outings. Was one of the players that Surnisers Hyderabad retained ahead of their big auction last year.

Rahul Tewatia
A proper all-rounder, he has picked up 11 wickets from seven games in Vijay Hazare this season. More than his leg-spin, the left-handed batter is known for his heroics with the bat and the world is no stranger to it as he has done it on multiple occasions in the IPL. Tewatia averages 36 with the bat and strikes at 115 from 30 games. He has picked up 44 wickets at an economy of 4.79. In T20s he strikes at an explosive 142 and averages an impressive 27 with the bat. He has picked up 40 wickets from 111 T20s at an economy of 7.46. Has the experience of playing at the top level and the temperament to finish off the tight games when needed.

Tilak Varma
The 20-year-old Varma has scored 402 runs at an average of 80 in this season’s Vijay Hazare Trophy. His impressive performances have earned him a call-up in the squad for India A tour of Bangladesh. Apart from his stylish batting, he also has the ability to bowl handy off-break. He certainly can chip in with a few overs if needed. He opened the bowling for Mumbai Indians in one of the IPL games against Lucknow Supergiants. Add to that he is a left-hander and the current team is desperately looking for one in the middle order. Varma averages 56.18 in List A with eight wickets to his name in 25 games. In 36 T20s he picked up a couple of wickets with an economy rate of 7.72.


Nitish Rana
Nitish Rana is more of an established player at the domestic and IPL level and remains in the fringes He has successful stints at both Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders and started his roll his arm around for the latter. Rana has picked up eight wickets from six games at just an economy of 3.95 in this year’s Vijay Hazare Trophy. Overall in List A cricket, Rana has picked up 23 wickets in 41 games and has scored over 2000 runs at an average of 39.11. And he also happens to be a left-hander.

Rajvardhan Hangargekar
The 20-year-old is still raw and lacks experience but has impressed one and all with his all-around ability in the 2022 Under-19 World Cup which India won. The fiery all-rounder has picked up 11 wickets in this year’s Vijay Hazare Trophy in six games for Maharashtra so far. Hangargekar was bought by the Chennai Super Kings IPL franchise and is yet to play in the IPL. The Maharashtra youngster so far has picked 16 wickets in his 10 List A games and averages 33 with the bat. In T20s the youngster is yet to make a significant impact, but given his potential and talent there is no telling that he can’t be good.

First published on: 30-11-2022 at 11:35 IST
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