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Five IPL first-timers to watch

Josh Philippe, Ishan Porel, Ravi Bishnoi, Tom Banton, and Yashasvi Jaiswal (from left) Getty Images

With so many established names in the league, it is difficult for first-time auction buys to get game time in the IPL. But these five players could be played by their franchises and become key players for them.

Josh Philippe, Royal Challengers Bangalore
Philippe, a wicketkeeper-batsman from Australia, was one of the stars of the Big Bash League's 2019-20 season. He started the tournament with a bang, hitting 81 not out against Perth Scorchers and ending the game with a massive six that landed on the roof of the SCG pavilion. He went on to score four more fifties for Sydney Sixers in the tournament, including one in the final. Philippe, 23, has shown both impeccable timing and a 360 game in his short career. RCB were lucky to pick him up for just Rs 20 lakh (about US$27,000) in the last auction, which was before the BBL season. Philippe was recently included in the Australia squad for the ODI and T20I series in England, though he did not make his international debut. He has earned high praise from big names - Adam Gilchrist has said he could be a "catalyst for change" in Australia's white-ball squad, while RCB team-mate AB de Villiers has said he sees some of his younger self in Philippe.

Ishan Porel, Kings XI Punjab
Porel, 22, is a seamer who can consistently hit the 140kph mark. He first drew attention during India's successful campaign at the 2018 Under-19 World Cup, in which he took 4 for 17 in the semi-final, against Pakistan, and then bowled a tight opening spell in the final, against Australia. Since then, he has become the de facto leader of the Bengal bowling line-up and helped Bengal reach the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy final. He was part of the India A team that toured New Zealand in January 2020 and took eight wickets in three games. Porel began as a back-of-a-length bowler, but over the past few years he has learned to swing the ball and begun bowling fuller to succeed in Indian conditions.

Tom Banton, Kolkata Knight Riders
At 21, Banton is already one of the most talked about batsmen on the T20 circuit. In 40 T20 matches, he has an average of nearly 30 and a strike-rate of 154.16. Banton rose to prominence during the 2019 English summer, when he scored 454 runs for Somerset in the Royal One-Day Cup, including 112, 59 and 69 in the three knockout games. He also scored 549 runs in the Vitality Blast, including a hundred and four fifties. He was then picked up by franchises for both the BBL and the Pakistan Super League and had impressive innings in both competitions. He has also become a regular member of England's white-ball squads. Banton grew up playing field hockey and that helps him play outrageous reverse-sweeps and scoops, which makes him an entertaining batsman to watch.

Ravi Bishnoi, Kings XI Punjab
A modern-day legspinner who prefers his googly to the traditional legbreak, Bishnoi was the leading wicket-taker at the 2020 U-19 World Cup, collecting 17 scalps in six games at an average of 10.64. He admires Rashid Khan and Yuzvendra Chahal, and his fast run-up allows him to get extra zip and bounce. It will help Bishnoi, still just 20, that Kings XI Punjab's head coach is Anil Kumble, the former India legspinner. Bishnoi recently said he had been learning to bowl the flipper from Kumble.

Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rajasthan Royals
Jaiswal, an 18-year-old left-hand batsman from Mumbai, was the Player of the Tournament at the 2020 U-19 World Cup, in which he scored 400 runs at an average of 133, including four fifties and a century. By then, Jaiswal had already impressed for the Mumbai senior team - he scored three centuries, one a double, for Mumbai in the 2019-20 Vijay Hazare Trophy. Jaiswal's consistency and aggression made him a hot commodity at the auction, and he was sold for Rs 2.4 crore (about US$338,000). With Ajinkya Rahane no longer at Rajasthan Royals, there's a good chance Jaiswal will be one of their first-choice openers.