IPL 2014 May 10, 2014

Shivam Sharma grabs his ticket out of obscurity


Last July during his first major coaching assignment, Sanjay Bangar, the Kings XI Punjab head coach, and three other experts spent three weeks with 20 talented youngsters at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. It was a camp for those who had impressed in the previous season's domestic Under-19 competition but were no more eligible to compete at the junior level.

Shivam Sharma, the little-known allrounder who made his debut for Kings XI on Friday, was one of them. Shivam had a superb junior record in that season, with a batting average of 82 and bowling average of 20, besides captaining Delhi Under-19.

Most of the other players from that camp in Bangalore went on to play in the 2013-14 Ranji Trophy. But thanks to a chaotic selection policy in Delhi cricket, Shivam wasn't even picked in the Ranji probables or in the Delhi Under-25 side.

While Shivam was disheartened due to the lack of recognition, Bangar had marked him as one for the future. As a result, despite Shivam having only played Delhi club cricket all through the previous season, Bangar called him for a Kings XI selection trial in Chandigarh.

"That camp has been a turning point in his cricketing journey so far," Naresh Jain, Shivam 's coach, told ESPNcricinfo a day after Shivam marked his IPL debut with the prize scalps of Yuvraj Singh and Albie Morkel. "Having been sidelined from the bigger assignments for no fault of his, Shivam was very disappointed, but the Kings XI selection trials gave him the much-needed confidence that he was as good as anyone else of his age."

Hailing from a lower middle-class family in Delhi, Shivam has been training in the Vidya Jain Cricket Academy in the north-western suburb of Rohini. Jain was coach of Shivam's school and has been mentoring him since then. Jain stresses that Shivam is "a genuine allrounder". "You cannot conclude whether he is a better batsman or a bowler. He is special," Jain said. "He has a great ability to read the game and is a natural leader."

After Shivam was picked up by Kings XI Punjab for his base price of Rs 10 lakh, Jain was constantly reminding his favourite ward to be patient. "Not that he needed to be told but we were just discussing that he needed to wait for the first opportunity to showcase his talent."

When the opportunity came, it was against one of the most destructive batting line-up, the Royal Challengers Bangalore. That too at one of the smallest grounds in India, which is not known to assist spin. But Shivam first foxed Yuvraj with a classical offspinner's dismissal - forcing a left-hander to edge one that goes away from him straight into slips - and then enticed Morkel into a false stroke to finish with notable figures of 4-0-26-2.

"You have seen how clean his action is and how skilful he can be with the ball. I am sure he will show his prowess with the bat in the coming days. Let's hope he gets an opportunity to show his worth."

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on May 11, 2014, 14:16 GMT

    @Mr.cricket blah blah. I agree with you, shivam bowled beautifully. But I hate your title, even if you were half a cricket lover as an American baseball player, you wouldn't have to feel that. MI cannot understand Hussey and they are paying the price.

  • Dummy4 on May 11, 2014, 12:41 GMT

    When Punjab needed a spinner in todays game against KKR...Shivam is dropped #facepalm

  • Sandeep on May 11, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    Ok , I agree with you @Mr.CricketJKNotHussey

  • Cricket on May 11, 2014, 9:11 GMT

    @sandeep_14185 It isn't about the wickets he took. It is about how he bowled. He turned the ball the most on that pitch and his action flowed well naturally. The 21 runs he gave were because of his inexperience. Those were hit off full tosses and it took someone like ADB to do that. Even against him, when Shivam got it right, all ABD could do was take a single. Go and watch his overs before you comment. There is a clear difference between getting batsmen in bad form out and bowling well enough to catch experts' attention. I agree that its too early to praise him as the next best thing but he bowled well enough to deserve the acclaim that he is getting.

  • Sandeep on May 11, 2014, 8:58 GMT

    Bowling to Yuvraj when he is in bad touch does not prove he is good bowler. In first 2 over he gave 5 runs (Yuvraj and morkel played this). In next 2 over 21 runs (De Villiers and Starc played this). It takes time and consistency to prove. Just like Sandeep Sharma, Chahal, Tambe and to an extent Ishwar Pandey.

  • Cricket on May 11, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    @Connan Doyle "This guy" has played one game at senior level so it is kind of incorrect to say he has hardly done anything since he has hardly played. And how can you say he is average based on one performance which itself was a good one. He has a good bowling action and temperament and bowled to his field. IPL has always been about young talents so they all get coverage. Samson, Chahal, Kohli, Sandeep all got publicity when they did well. @Facebook User Punjab always promoted young talent. They discovered Marsh and Miller and gave them chances to succeed. For the last three years, their domestic talents like Mandeep, Gurkeerat and Vohra have been promoted and have done well. They depended on their foreign players to provide that extra edge which they sadly didn't get and just missed out on the playoffs. Right now, their bowling (half their team) is almost completely Indian and they are all young exciting prospects with the exception of Balaji. They dont depend on their foreigners.

  • Dummy4 on May 11, 2014, 1:36 GMT

    The guy is average and has hardly done anything, must have some serious connections to get this kind of coverage, or is it because he is a sharma.

  • Dummy4 on May 10, 2014, 19:19 GMT

    Kings 11 has learnt a lot from their past mistakes and also from the success of Rajasthan. Good to see that. Till this IPL they always was a team that was dreaming that their foreign players alone can win them matches. They won few matches here and there but were largely weak in all 6 IPL. Even now they still depend heavily on their foreign players, but they have given chance to few budding talents like Sandeep Sharma and now Shivam. They are trying to follow the footsteps of Rajesthan, though it is late awakening, it is better late than never.

  • Cricket on May 10, 2014, 14:34 GMT

    Great performance, great action and good temperament. However, its a bit too early to earmark him as one of the future stars. Don't get me wrong, he could go on to do extremely well, but right now, he has only played one game at this level (even if it was no fault of his own). Give him some time to mature without the pressure of being the next big thing. I think the KXIP has created an atmosphere where players can just go express themselves, so it should be good for him. Sanjay Bangar has to be commended as well. When critics questioned KXIP's lack of spinners after the auction, Bangar commented on how Akshar and Shivam were promising and would step up. His eye for spotting talent and his ability to produce the best out of them if a really heartening feeling.

  • Dummy4 on May 10, 2014, 14:22 GMT

    BCCI should be using ppl like Sanjay BAngar as a talent scout, the most sincere genuine guy you could ever meet. If Mithun da was the poor mans Amitabh then Sanjay Bangar was the poor man's Gavaskar as a opener, a heart bigger than most and a team man throughout. Finding talent is an art and not all can do it, how Delhi missed out on Shivam, I think the credibility of DDCA has always been under cloud in its selection process in all age groups. I havent seen Shivam bat but if he can bat and field at least 50% of how well he batted this kid could be a genuine all rounder that India has been crying out for so long.

  • No featured comments at the moment.