The uncapped ones: Shahrukh Khan, Umran Malik and more

From power-hitters to speed demons, this IPL has the potential to be a showcase of bright young talent

Yash Jha
Shahrukh Khan has the potential to be box office  •  BCCI/IPL

Shahrukh Khan has the potential to be box office  •  BCCI/IPL

The addition of two new teams this IPL has opened a lot of doors for a lot of young Indian players. ESPNcricinfo has handpicked a dozen of them to keep an eye on.

Shahrukh Khan

Punjab Kings
Role: Power hitter
Having already built a reputation as a power-hitter, Shahrukh Khan got his IPL break in 2021 but it proved to be a frustrating season with Punjab Kings. He got ten hits and returned 153 runs at a strike rate of 134.21, but it felt like he was batting too low in the batting order and wasn't getting enough chances to influence the game.
What did he do next? He took the domestic calendar by storm, across formats: 101 runs off 64 balls in six innings in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s - including knocks of 19*(9) and 33*(15) to seal last-over victories in the quarter-final and the final respectively - 253 runs at a strike rate of 186.02 from seven outings in the Vijay Hazare 50-overs Trophy, and 285 runs from four innings in the Ranji Trophy (strike rate 102.88). Chennai Super Kings went all out to try and secure the Tamil Nadu man at the auction, but Shahrukh will return to Punjab - for INR 9 crore (USD 1.2m), this time - who, surely, can't repeat their mishandling of the finisher.

Arshdeep Singh

Punjab Kings
Role: Strike bowler
Punjab did back Arshdeep Singh though - he was one of only two retained players at the franchise ahead of IPL 2022. Through 2019 and 2020, the left-arm seamer had modest returns - 12 wickets from 11 games while leaking 9.38 per over. In 2021, Arshdeep turned a corner with 18 wickets from 12 outings, conceding 8.27 per over. Even more impressive was his skill at the death: between overs 17 and 20, Arshdeep took eight wickets in 80 balls while keeping the scoring down to 9.67 per over - only six bowlers took more wickets at the death in IPL 2021; among those who bowled at least ten overs in the phase, only five had a better economy rate. A certain starter now, Arshdeep - and Punjab - will hope to build on the gains this season.

Anuj Rawat

Royal Challengers Bangalore
Role: Top-order batter
Three seasons, two appearances, one ball faced - Anuj Rawat has been around the IPL for a while (at Rajasthan Royals), but it's safe to say this will be his first real break in the competition. The bare numbers don't say much - 501 runs in 22 T20 innings, strike rate 121.01 - but there's a reason why Royal Challengers Bangalore had to go all the way up to INR 3.4 crore (USD 453,000), fending off interest from Sunrisers Hyderabad and then Gujarat Titans, to make him theirs: Rawat is a left-hander who bats in the top-order and can take down spin. Given the constants at No. 1 and No. 3 for RCB, Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli, and their fairly similar frailties (read: attacking spin), the 22-year-old becomes a potentially key cog in the wheel. He also doubles up as a back-up wicketkeeper, although that might not be required much given the presence of Dinesh Karthik.

Rajvardhan Hangargekar

Chennai Super Kings
Role: Fast-bowling allrounder
Of the five India Under-19 World Cup winners to get maiden IPL contracts, only one fetched a higher auction price than Rajvardhan Hangargekar, who went to Chennai Super Kings for INR 1.5 crore (USD 200,000). The teenager from Tuljapur, Maharashtra boasts the one important skillset that every T20 team needs - serious pace, touching 140kph - and another that is highly valued - lower-order muscle (at the U-19 World Cup this year, Hangargekar hit six sixes off the 28 balls he faced). Deepak Chahar's absence opens up a slot for at least one of the Super Kings' several domestic pace options, but Hangargekar's utility can tip the scales in his favour ahead of Tushar Deshpande, Mukesh Choudhary and KM Asif.

Abhinav Manohar

Gujarat Titans
Role: Top/middle-order pinch hitter
He only made his professional debut in November last year, but Titans shelled out INR 2.6 crore (USD 346,000) to secure the services of Abhinav Manohar. The 27-year-old has shown appreciable versatility, even considering a low sample size of four T20s: on debut, against Saurashtra, Manohar walked out with Karnataka at 34 for 3 chasing 146, and hit an unbeaten 70 off 49 balls to secure a final-over finish; in the Syed Mushtaq Ali final a week later, against Tamil Nadu, he entered at 32 for 3 and scored a measured 37-ball 46 that helped Karnataka reach 152 - which almost proved enough. Manohar's range could be essential for Titans, whose batting wears a rather thin look.

R Sai Kishore

Gujarat Titans
Role: Second spinner
Few players can claim to have a more impressive track record on the domestic circuit and yet be without any IPL caps, but that may soon change for R Sai Kishore. He was picked up by Super Kings ahead of the IPL 2020 auction following a stellar Syed Mushtaq Ali campaign - 20 wickets in 12 games, economy rate 4.63 - but with Ravindra Jadeja a fixed starter, Sai Kishore couldn't force himself into the playing XI. The 25-year-old's frugal left-arm spin - a career economy of 5.46 after 38 T20s - could prove to be the ideal foil to Rashid Khan in the Titans set-up. Sai Kishore's ability to bowl in the Powerplay could also enable Titans to free up some overs of Mohammed Shami and Lockie Ferguson to utilise elsewhere.

Sheldon Jackson

Kolkata Knight Riders
Role: wicketkeeper-batter who can open
All of Sheldon Jackson's four IPL appearances came in 2017, for Kolkata Knight Riders. Five years on, at the age of 35, he's on the cusp of a first 'proper' stint in the tournament - and it comes on the back of his best year in T20 cricket. In 2021, through two Syed Mushtaq Ali campaigns, Jackson smashed 513 runs in 11 matches, striking at 147.83 and averaging 73.28 (up from career figures of 110.52 and 22.17 in 54 T20s prior to 2021). With Aaron Finch, Pat Cummins, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine the expected overseas quartet (when available), there may not be room for Sam Billings, leaving Jackson as the only wicketkeeping option. Knight Riders will hope he can carry his recent T20 surge into the IPL.

Abhishek Sharma

Sunrisers Hyderabad
Role: Opener or middle-order floater and spinning allrounder
Abhishek Sharma has been with Sunrisers for three seasons, but he has only just begun to his true potential. The left-hander from Punjab averages 31.37 while striking at 141.57 when batting in the top three, compared to an average of 15 and a strike rate of 131.75 lower down the order. The last two games of IPL 2021 were the first time Sunrisers batted him in his best position, and he smashed 33 off 16 against Mumbai Indians. Having shelled out INR 6.5 crore (USD 866,000) to get him back at the auction, Sunrisers are likely to stick with Abhishek at the top, along with Rahul Tripathi and Kane Williamson. Given he can bowl a bit of left-arm spin as well, including a remarkable little backspinning legcutter, the 21-year old makes for an attractive first-team option.

Umran Malik

Sunrisers Hyderabad
Role: Strike bowler
Umran Malik was still waiting to debut even as IPL 2021 went into its final week of the league stage. He got a go in the last three games Sunrisers played; two months later, he had the distinction of being the player to have featured in the fewest IPL matches before being retained. The speedometer instantly came into focus once Malik arrived on the scene - in his second match, he bowled the fastest delivery by an Indian in the tournament's history, clocked at 152.95kph. High pace remains an exclusive club in the IPL; high pace, from an Indian, who is still only 21, marks Malik as the rarest of the rare - and explains the retention. Expect him to feature prominently, especially on the speed lists.

Tilak Varma

Mumbai Indians
Role:Top-order batter
Nineteen-year-old Tilak Varma is yet to play in the IPL, but already has a glowing endorsement from an all-time great: Mahela Jayawardene, Varma's coach at Mumbai, labelled him a "massive talent" ahead of the season - and Mumbai's squad composition suggests this talent is set to get his opportunity. Varma has enjoyed a productive start in domestic cricket: he made 215 runs at a strike rate of 147.26 in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021-22 - of the 20 batters with 200-plus runs in the tournament, only four scored faster - to follow his returns of 391 runs (average 97.75, strike rate 97.26) in the 2020-21 Vijay Hazare Trophy. The left-handed batter could shuttle between No. 3 and No. 4, helping Mumbai maintain a left-right combination in their top four.

Sanjay Yadav

Mumbai Indians
Role: spin-bowling allrounder
Five years in the domestic grind have seen Sanjay Yadav travel from Tamil Nadu to Meghalaya to Tamil Nadu again; he's also found squad spots at Sunrisers and Knight Riders, but his quest for an IPL debut could finally end at Mumbai - where he could be looked at to fill the Krunal Pandya role from the last few years. He's no big hitter (T20 career strike rate 124.12 from 23 innings) but he's more than handy with the bat, as evidenced by a first-class average of 46.38 and a List A average of 45.50. He doesn't take a lot of wickets either, at least not in T20s (16 in 27 outings), but his slow left-armers go at 6.65 per over and give Mumbai the match-up card, when needed.

Yashasvi Jaiswal

Rajasthan Royals
Role: Opener
One of four uncapped players to have been retained ahead of IPL 2022, Yashasvi Jaiswal has had the backing of the Royals for a few seasons now. To be part of a retained trio featuring Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson at such a nascent stage of his career is an exhibition of the faith. While he didn't take the tournament by storm in 2021, the left-handed opener showed glimpses of his destructive abilities in several cameos - none more emphatic than his 19-ball 50 against Super Kings in Abu Dhabi, which included an incredible assault on Josh Hazlewood (38 off 12 balls). At 20, he remains a work-in-progress, but there's little doubt he's set for a lengthy run at the top of the Royals line-up.
All USD figures are approximations where 1 USD=75 INR