The 2020 edition of the Indian Premiere League (IPL) cricket tournament begins in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday.
The glamorous tournament is one of the richest in the world and attracts top players from India and abroad.
Fans pack stadiums across India, including top Bollywood stars and politicians.
But everything will be different this time because of the coronavirus pandemic. The matches will be played in empty stadiums and the usual parties will also not happen.
But one aspect is likely to remain constant – the tournament’s record of creating new cricketing superstars.
All teams have bought new players, and some of them are from India’s under-19 team.
Here are some of the players who have the potential to be match-winners for their teams.
The stylish batsman idolises cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and had always dreamt of meeting and learning from him.
His dream came true soon after he returned to India after playing in the under-19 World Cup in South Africa in February. Tendulkar met him and praised his performances in the tournament.
He hasn’t looked back since then – he will make his IPL debut for the Rajasthan Royals team this year.
His team has huge expectations from him and it’s obvious why if we look at his Under-19 World Cup record. His scores read 88, 105 not out, 62, 57 not out, 29 not out and 57. He was the top scorer in this year’s edition and became only the third batsman in the tournament’s history to score five half centuries.
His background story is also as inspiring as his cricket achievements.
Jaiswal came to the bustling city of Mumbai from a small town in Uttar Pradesh state to better his skills. He slept rough and sold street snacks to make a living.
A local coach soon spotted him and took him under his wings – and his life took a turn for the better.
It won’t be easy for him to make a mark in his star-studded team which has international stalwarts like Jos Butler and Ben Stokes.
But then he knows how to make his mark, specially when the going gets tough.
Former Test cricketer Aakash Chopra has described Bishnoi as India’s next “spin wizard”.
And it’s not an exaggeration given Bishnoi’s stellar performances in the Under-19 World Cup.
He took 17 wickets, often at crucial times to help India win matches. His team lost the finals to Bangladesh, but Bishnoi emerged as one of the star performers from the tournament.
He is part of the Kings XI Punjab team in the IPL, and is expected to play a crucial role in their campaign.
The Kings are largely a mid-table side and they will be looking at Bishnoi to repeat his World Cup heroics for them.
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Garg captained India under-19 in the World Cup and took his side to the final. Though his scores were modest, they don’t tell the full story.
He led the side with authority and showed his skills in making crucial tactical decisions.
The middle-order batsman also has a strong reputation in India’s domestic cricket tournaments. He made his first-class debut in 2018 for Uttar Pradesh state and soon scored a double hundred, announcing his arrival in the big league.
He scored heavily in other matches too and that paved the way for him to become the captain of the under-19 side.
Sunrisers Hyderabad have put faith in him in this year’s IPL. If history is to be taken into account, Garg’s chances of a promising career look bright.
Many under-19 captains, including current national captain Virat Kohli, Prithvi Shaw, Mohammad Kaif and Parthiv Patel, went on to play for India and also did well in club cricket.
And if Garg helps the Sunrisers to stay on top on the table, his chances of representing India will get stronger.
If Bishnoi was known for confusing batsmen with his googlies, Tyagi often shocked them with his ability to swing the ball both ways at a decent pace in the tournament.
He picked 11 wickets at an average of 13.90 and that made him one of the top picks for the Rajasthan Royals in this year’s IPL auction.
His team-mates include Indian fast bowler Varun Aron and England pacer Jofra Archer. The trio are expected to form a destructive pace attack for the Royals.
Tyagi can be particularly useful on the slow tracks of the UAE because of his precision and his ability to vary his pace.
And if Ben Stokes misses the first half of the tournament, which is likely to happen, Tyagi may end up being the frontline bowler for the team.