Dubai: The rise of Ravi Bishnoi, the 19-year-old fresh faced leg spinner of Kings XI Punjab, to limelight within the first week of IPL is one of the reasons that makes you believe in the Great IPL dream. If the composure of the youngster in the first two many matches are any indication, then captain KL Rahul will not hesitate to throw the ball at him even during the power play overs when a buoyant Kings XI take on Rajasthan Royals at Sharjah on Sunday.
Figures of 4-0-22-1 and 4-0-32-3 from the first two games belies the experience levels of the Rajasthan rookie, whose career high so far had been playing for India in the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year where the Boys in Blue lost the final to Bangladesh. He ended with 17 wickets in the tournament in South Africa to carry a reputation into the IPL as one of the promising teenagers - and may now pushing for the main spinner’s spot ahead of the more estbalished Mujeeb-ur Rahman of Afghanistan.
The influence of Anil Kumble, their head coach and one of the finest exponents of his craft, in Bishnoi’s growth is understandable. “The conversation with Anil Sir mainly revolves around sticking to the basics. He has told me to back my skills and not try too many things in a game. Just stick to what I am confident of executing in the game,” Bishnoi said.
His flipper, the delivery that hurries into the right hander, had been his stock ball and played a key role in earning him three wickets on Thursday night. Bishnoi admits he had been picking the brains of Kumble to pick it up the right way. “I am learning how to bowl the flipper from him (Kumble), the delivery you push quicker through the air,” Bishnoi told the team’s website in an interview.
“I have been watching the IPL on television for many years, now to actually be a part of the competition for a youngster like me is like a dream come true,” added Bishnoi in the same interview.
Born in Jodhpur in Rajasthan - a historic city known more for it’s forts and palaces rather than a thriving cricketing culture, Bishnoi along with his friends and two local coaches built an academy named Spartans Cricket Academy - where they did all the masonry work themselves to set up the facility themselves for training. He made his Twenty20 debut for Rajasthan in the 2018–19 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in February last year, following it up with his List A debut in September last year for Rajasthan in the 2019–20 Vijay Hazare Trophy. The next month, he was named in India A’s squad for the 2019–20 Deodhar Trophy and hasn’t looked back since.
“The little boy (Bishnoi) has a lot of fight in him and every time I throw the ball to him, he wants to be in a contest. He is somebody who has a lot of heart and he gives it all at the game”, said Rahul in his post-match interview after the RCB win.
A quick learner, Bishnoi seems to have settled down into life at the highest level quite quickly. KXIP fans, however, will hope that this is just the start and that he still has plenty of tricks left in his bag for the rest of the competition.