August 05, 2022

India’s rising U-19 Captain – Yash Dhull

By Kshitij Sharma

Yash Dhull, on February 5th, 2022, joined Mohammed Kaif, Virat Kohli, Unmukt Chand, and Prithvi Shaw as the U-19 captain to lead India to the World Championship. The Indian U-19 captain was a focal point of all the expectations for the new crop of players, especially after winning the coveted U-19 World Cup.

Born in Delhi, Dhull represented India in the 2019 U-19 Asia Cup before being named captain of the World Cup squad. He hit a 100-ball, 82-run knock to start the competition, but he later tested positive for Covid and displayed severe symptoms. Many people began to speculate that the illness might prevent him from participating in the remainder of the competition. Such a setback early in a career would have broken a lot of youngsters.

Dhull, however, was resolute to seize this chance. Within a week, he overcame his illness and returned to the team in time for their quarterfinal match against Bangladesh, when he contributed significantly. His coach praised him for having a solid head on his shoulders and relentlessly focused on getting better.

The highlight of his tournament came in the very next round, where he scored his first century of the tournament and single-handedly guided the team to the finals. Many people found similarities with Virat Kohli in his playing style and demeanour. He was the backbone of the Indian batting order against the mighty Australian squad, one of the favourites to win the title. After this knock, many people looked in Dhull's direction and declared that a star had been born that day.

Soon after the World Cup, Delhi Capitals signed him on a multiple-year contract starting in 2022. Although he didn’t play a single match in the last edition of the Indian Premier League, it offers him a great opportunity as Delhi Capitals, in recent years, have given youngsters a chance to perform on the highest level. Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant and Avesh Khan are enough examples for Dhull to look up to in future editions of IPL.

One tournament where Dhull got his breakthrough was the Ranji Trophy. Delhi needed an opener and he had a chance to open, for which he agreed instantly, as confirmed by Chaitanya Nanda. Playing in the Ranji for the first time, he didn’t look out of place and scored a century on his first-class debut. A score of 113 from 150 balls, which included 18 boundaries, laid a marker down for what is to come from this youngster with loads of potential. He scored a century in the 2nd innings as well, which made him only the 3rd player in history to score centuries in both innings on debut.

Dhull ended his maiden season by being the highest run scorer for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy. He scored 479 runs in three matches, including a double century.

Over the recent few months, he has not only been praised as a player but also as a captain. His U-19 coach, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, was full of praise post the completion of the World Cup.

All the traits and performances indicate towards one point that India might be finding another gem in the name of Yash Dhull, but none of this guarantees anything. He has passed as a young player, passed the test of red-ball cricket and even earned himself an IPL contract. But now is when he will have to handle the pressure of being the next big star. People will keep an eye on him, and each performance will be under a microscopic lens. Only time will tell how he overcomes all these hurdles, but for the time being, he looks promising.

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