As for Virat Kohli, he might still feature in the blue jersey for three to four or more years, but the BCCI must already be eyeing their next superstar at number three, someone who could bail them during run chases like the Royal Challengers Bangalore star did on countless occasions.
While the 33-year-old batting maestro has been unable to score an international ton for over two years, his records speak volumes of his greatness in the international circuit. Despite a form slump, he is sitting pretty at an average of 49.5 in Tests, 57.7 in ODIs, and 50.1 in T20Is.
He has over 23,000 runs and 70 centuries, a feat that very few batters in the sport’s history have even come close to.
For anyone to be called The Next Virat Kohli would mean bearing them with a massive responsibility, but there are a few youngsters on the Indian side who have shown signs of greatness in their early careers so far.
India Cricket Team Batsmen - Shubman Gill
Gill’s arrival in the IPL and the national team was similar to Kohli’s. It didn’t take Gill very long to make waves in the cricketing circle after the 2017/18 World Cup where he scored runs for fun. He was India’s top scorer in the tournament with 372 runs, coupled with his ability to play the short ball almost effortlessly helped him rub shoulders with the big guns sooner than anticipated.
And the 22-year-old didn’t disappoint either. He went on to make a big mark in the ODI circuit wherein he now averages 50.8. His highest ODI score came last week against West Indies where rain thwarted Gill’s attempt to bring up his first international ton.
The Indian batter remained unbeaten at 98*.
He’s the kind of batter who switches to rotating the strike when the ball tries to play tricks and avoids touching the fence, which shows that he is not a one-dimensional batter who purely relies on smacking the ball for boundaries. If the need is, he turns into a great runner between the wickets, something Kohli has utilized all his career.
India Cricket Team Batsmen - Deepak Hooda
Hooda had to grind for years in the domestic circuit and the IPL to earn his cap. He did not burst into the scene on the back of a marvelous Under-19 record nor did he awe the crowd with something they haven’t seen before.
Instead, he earned his first India call-up this year after performing consistently in the IPL ever since he debuted in 2015.
The 27-year-old batter did not hang around to make a name in the international arena. He has played only four T20I innings for India, but already bagged a century which came in the away series against Ireland.
He averages a whopping 68.3 in T20Is and 38.3 in four ODI innings.
What makes Hooda an asset in the white-ball team is his ability to bowl right-arm off break. He can provide quick breakthroughs and provide a respite for the bowling cartel as well.
India Cricket Team Batsmen - Shreyas Iyer
Iyer has been in and out of the national side merely because of Kohli. The 27-year-old has had a decent showing ever since his international debut in 2017, but he is the BCCI’s go-to guy usually when Kohli is either rested or injured. This is because Iyer bats at number 3.
However, he has been India’s regular in T20Is where he has featured in 43 games, averaging 33.2. Iyer has shown his best in the red-ball circuit with a 46.9 average.
His decent average of 42.3 in 50-over games also shows that he is in the conversation when it comes to the Indian batters who could be all-format batters.
India Cricket Team Batsmen - Sanju Samson
When we talk of natural stroke makers in the Indian huddle, one of the names that come up include Sanju Samson. The Rajasthan Royals captain has been in the IPL for almost a decade now.
Since debuting in 2013, he has featured in a whopping 138 games and amassed 3,526 runs. Samson, 27, has been through the same cycle as Iyer and others in the conversation.
The question is not about his talent, it's about who should the management bench to make room for him. The dilemma that the BCCI often faces is having lots of refined products to choose from.
This explains why the Vizhinjam native has played only 14 T20Is for India despite making his debut in 2015.
One aspect he definitely needs to pay heed to is extending his stay on the wicket. Samson is more than likely to damage the opposition the longer he stays in the middle, but his average (19) reveals that this hasn’t been the case.
The BCCI has been trying him out in ODIs as well, and his consistent inclusion in white-ball games shows that the Indian board is eager to find him a spot that works well for him and make him a regular member of the national side.
India Cricket Team Batsmen - Ruturaj Gaikwad
After bursting into the scene in the 2020 IPL with the Chennai Super Kings, Gaikwad was often likened to Virat Kohli. The way the Pune batter started his innings slow and built on his momentum in the middle overs resembled the way Kohli built his innings in his prime.
In his very first IPL season, the 25-year-old made three consecutive 50+ scores after a series of single-digit scores.
In his next season, Gaikwad went on to become the tournament’s top scorer with 635 runs.
However, in the international circuit, Ishan Kishan has lately been preferred over him, primarily because Kishan makes a righty-lefty duo with captain Rohit Sharma.
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