IPL 2022: Rahul, Hardik lead change of guard as new kids own the block

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KL Rahul - TheSportingHub
Young captains like KL Rahul are like a battering ram, ready to crush anything that stands in the way, and finesse be damned. Photo: crictracker.com

With the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 well and truly heated up, the change in who will rule Indian cricket is becoming quite clear. Even as the old stalwarts struggle, the new crop of stars are at their ebullient best, leading from the front and flexing their muscles, seeming to sat, “move away, here we come”.

The veterans, who include some of the biggest names in the sport, are struggling to handle this new assault. They may succeed collectively on occasion to counter the new lot, on an individual level, the juniors are sailing past the veterans with ease.

Related: Mumbai Indians in trouble as battle intensifies

Names like KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya and Mayank Agarwal are making it clear that the future of Indian cricket is here now. By contrast, the senior lot of MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma and even Virat Kohli are finding the going very tough indeed.

 

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If you take away Jos Buttler from the top of the batting table, it is populated from by Rahul (2nd), Shreyas Iyer (4th), Pandya (5th), followed by Shivam Dube.

The only ‘senior’ among the top 10 batters in IPL 2022 is Dinesh Karthik, at 10th. But then, he isn’t exactly the typical ‘senior’ in the scheme of things, especially when it comes to Team India colours, since he doesn’t always get as much exposure there as he should.

Contrast this list with the rest, the real ‘seniors’. Shikhar Dhawan is at 12th while the Big Two — Rohit Sharma, the current India skipper, is at 36th position, and his predecessor, Virat Kohli holds 34th.

Even Rishabh Pant, who became a ‘senior’ way too fast (he is touted on many platforms as the next India captain) is meandering at 26th.

Then there is MS Dhoni, the tallest of them all. But he doesn’t really count among current players for anything barring the IPL, so we’ll keep him out of the equation.

Not everything can simplistically be attributed to bad form or luck. There is no doubt that the nature and philosophy of the game has changed, and that shows.

The new skippers are trench-men, the infantry soldiers who will go down and dirty, ready to fight tooth and nail. That is not suggest that the veteran players are not fighters, but they had more strategy and plans. The new lot are like a battering ram, ready to crush anything that stands in the way, and finesse be damned.

 

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As we can see, this strategy is working fine for the new captains, with Gujarat Titans (Pandya) and Lucknow Super Giants (Rahul) are vying for the top spot. Royal Challengers Bangalore are in this battle too, but Kohli has disappointingly little to contribute with the bat.

Contrast this with Mumbai Indians (Sharma), scraping the bottom of the barrel.

So it is not just coincidence. One assumes cricket changes like life. Each generation is more brash than the next and progressively irreverent. Their “bash on” policy is definitely more effective.

 

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Sure, they have the teams to do so, but that’s not to say that the other sides are now full of novices. It is just a simple fact — this new lot has been more successful with their approach.

 

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Still a lot to happen in IPL 2022, but things are beginning to take shape, and it looks ugly if seen from the viewpoint of some teams. Looks like it is heading for new changes on the Indian cricket blueprint.