They are colts. They are amateurs. They are yet to see the razzmatazz and glitter of cricket’s commercial world. Still, four members of the Indian cricket team walk into the ICC Under-19 World Cup final in New Zealand as the new million dollar babies of world cricket. Three others have become lakhpatis in their own right. All in a span of two days of the Indian Premier League player acquisition auction in Bengaluru on January 27 and 28.
Seven of the 15 Indian under-19 squad boys have walked into the professional world of cash-rich IPL over the weekend. They exhibited the clinical precision of seasoned professionals to demolish the Pakistan Colts in a one-sided semi-final that was reduced to an absolute no contest – or at best a contest between the hardcore professionals and a bunch of youngsters dreaming to make it big.
Led by skipper Prithvi Shaw, there are seven players who rode the Under-19 WC bandwagon to fetch the big-money IPL deals. There are eight others, who missed the opportunity. Incidentally, Ishan Porel’s match-winning 4 for 17 with the new ball against Pakistan came a little too late to get him noticed for an IPL deal.
THE MILLION DOLLAR BABIES
The 18-year-old seamer Kamlesh Nagarkoti tops the list of the new IPL millionaire dollar babies for his ₹3.2 crore deal with Kolkata Knight Riders. The Rajasthan boy, still in his teens, is bowling at speed close enough to break the 150kmph barrier.
The IPL auction turned out to be the occasion for big KKR commitments for young speedsters as the Kolkata franchisee also got the other India under-19 seamer Shivam Mavi for a ₹3 crore bid. The Noida boy had drawn rich accolades from former India captain Sourav Ganguly for his 145kmph deliveries in WC game against Australia.
The 18-year-old Punjab boy from Fazilka, a non-descript town on the cricket map, celebrated his ₹1.8 crore deal from KKR with an unbeaten 94-ball, 102 in the semi-final against Pakistan. Gill’s father, having spotted the talent early, had shifted his family to a rented accommodation in Mohali for nurturing the young talent. The results are there to see. Both, on and off the field.
This Mumbai boy is in the habit of making bid headlines. Prithvi Shaw holds the national record for his 546 in 330 balls he scored as a 14-year-old school cricketer in 2013. He has matched the feet of great Sachin Tendulkar with centuries on his Ranji and Duleep Trophy debut. Shaw might have got the lowest deal among the young IPL crorepatis, ₹1.2 crore from Delhi Daredevils, but the Indian Colts’ captain is already a million dollar baby for his endorsement deals.
Shaw at the age of 14 has got a ₹34 lakh deal from cricket gear brand SG. He is endorsing MRF and protein brand Protinex. His value of commercial endorsements is tipped to be @ ₹ 50 lakh a day.
THE TEENAGE LAKHPATIS
The 17-year-old Punjab all-rounder, Abhishek Sharma has bagged ₹55 lakh deal from Delhi Daredevils.
Delhi Daredevils, banking heavily on value-for-money young talent have got the local boy for his base price of ₹20 lakh.
Anukul Roy is the other India under-19 talent to get an IPL deal as Mumbai Indians went for him at the base price of ₹ 20 lakh.
The two-day bid process has also witnessed the other under-19 World Cup talent bagging lucrative deals. Afghanistan boys Mujeeb Zadran (₹4 crore) and Zahir Khan (₹ 60 lakh) were acquired by Kings XI Punjab and Zahir Khan. Delhi Daredevils have got Sandeep Lamichane, the first Nepal representation in IPL, for ₹20 lakh base price on a strong recommendation from coach Ricky Ponting.