All-rounder Lalit Yadav was part of the Delhi Capitals last season and made some decent contributions.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 edition is more than a week old now. The Rajasthan Royals (RR) have been the most impressive team in the tournament so far, winning their first two matches in convincing fashion. Debutant franchise the Gujarat Titans (GT) have also been impressive, clinching victories in their opening two games. Kolkata lost one and won two of their first three matches, while Delhi, Lucknow, Bangalore, and Punjab had a 50-50 record after two matches. Ironically, Mumbai and Chennai, the two most successful IPL franchises, lost their opening two matches. Although these are still early days in the tournament, a few Indian youngsters across franchises have already begun to impress. Here’s a look at five Indian young guns with a bright future.

1. Ayush Badoni: LSG batter Ayush Badoni seems like a special talent. He came into bat against GT with his team in dire straits at 29 for 4. However, the right-hander looked in no pressure at all as he eased his way to 54 from 41 balls and featured in a cracking stand with Deepak Hooda (55). Badoni took on the bowlers and struck four fours and three sixes during his impressive innings. In LSG’s second match against CSK, Badoni played a key cameo of 19* in 9 balls under pressure, striking two sixes as Lucknow chased down 211. Badoni clearly looks unflustered in tight situations and has a natural flair for stroke-making.

2. Tilak Varma: There has been a lot of hype around 19-year-old Tilak Varma ever since he was picked up by Mumbai Indians at the mega auction. MI are known for scouting for youngsters; Jasprit Bumrah is the best example. In the two matches that he has played, Varma has proved that there is indeed something special about him. After an impressive cameo of 22 against Delhi, he hammered 61 off only 33 balls against RR. What stood out about this innings was the ease with which he hit Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravichandran Ashwin for sixes, even reverse-sweeping the latter for a maximum. Keep an eye on him.

3. Lalit Yadav: All-rounder Lalit Yadav was part of the Delhi Capitals last season and made some decent contributions. He might not be exceptionally talented but seems like a hardworking cricketer who knows how to make the most of his cricketing gifts. He scored a crucial 48 not out off 38 as DC pulled off a come-from-behind win over Mumbai. He was looking good against Gujarat as well before getting run out. Apart from his batting skills, Yadav can also chip in with his off-spin and bowl 2-3 useful overs. A handy cricketer to have in the team.

4. Akash Deep: RCB pacer Akash Deep was impressive during his spell in the game against KKR. He claimed three wickets for 45 runs in a key bowling spell. He dismissed Venkatesh Iyer, Nitish Rana, and Umesh Yadav as Kolkata were bowled out for 128. What was most impressive about Akash Deep’s spell was his ability to trouble batters with the short ball. He hurried the batters, and his pace was clearly a bit too hot to handle, especially for the lower order batters.

5. Umran Malik: Fast bowler Umran Malik was among the few positives for Hyderabad in their disastrous IPL 2022 campaign. He came in towards the end and made a serious impression with his extra pace. He gave glimpses of his talent in Hyderabad’s first match against RR as well. Although he was expensive, he did well to dislodge the dangerous Jos Buttler. The destructive England batter looked set for a big score but was undone by Malik’s pace as the ball clocked 148 kph. He also cleaned up a well-set Devdutt Padikkal with a length delivery that was clearly too quick for the left-hander. Expect to see a lot of Malik in IPL 2022.

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