Team Punjab’s Jitesh Sharma has been one of the finds of the Indian T20 League 2022.
Since making his Indian T20 League debut against defending champions Chennai on April 3, the Punjab wicket-keeper batter has not only cemented his place in the playing XI but also has been one of the standout players for the franchise alongside England cricketer Liam Livingstone.
Having been asked to play a pivotal role as a finisher, the 28-year-old Jitesh Sharma has amassed 162 runs in nine matches at an impressive strike rate of 167.01 while also maintaining an enviable average of 32.40.
Sehwag backs Jitesh’s inclusion in Indian T20 World Cup squad
After Jitesh played a cameo of an unbeaten 38-run knock off just 18 balls against Rajasthan, former India cricketer Virender Sehwag requested the selectors to pick him in the Indian squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup as a reserve wicket-keeper batter.
“He has impressed quite a bit... So should we also include him in the Australia-bound T20 World Cup squad?" Sehwag was quoted as saying in a Cricbuzz show.
"If i had to select the team, I would take him to Australia as a second wicket-keeper-batter for the T20 World Cup (in September-October)," Sehwag added.
Performance in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy put Punjab on notice
Punjab acquired the services of the Vidarbha cricketer for his base price of INR 20 lakh during the Indian T20 League mega auction held in Bengaluru in February.
Having made some minor changes to his game ahead of the domestic season, Jitesh Sharma played an important role in helping Vidarbha reach the semi-finals of the 2021-22 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, before losing to Karnataka. The right-handed batter scored 214 runs in eight matches at a staggering strike rate of 235.16 and an average of 53.50. He smashed two impressive fifties in the tournament.
Made his List-A debut for Vidarbha in 2013-14 season
After scoring 537 runs in 12 innings in 2012-13 Cooch Behar Trophy, Jitesh Sharma made his List-A debut for Vidarbha against Odisha during 2013-14 Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Since then, the right-handed batter has amassed 1266 runs in 41 List-A matches at an average of 34.21. He has registered two hundreds and seven fifties so far.
Born on October 22, 1993 in Maharashtra, Jitesh Sharma made his T20 debut for Vidarbha against Uttar Pradesh in 2014. Jitesh Sharma was the third-highest run-getter in the 2015-16 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, amassing 343 runs at a strike rate of 143.51.
After a successful Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy campaign, Jitesh Sharma bagged his maiden Indian T20 League contract as Mumbai bought him in the Indian T20 League auction in 2016 for INR 10 lakh.
In his domestic T20 career so far, Jitesh Sharma has accumulated 1491 runs in 63 matches at a strike rate of 144.19 and an average of 28.67. He has smashed one ton and eight half-centuries in the shortest format.
Later in the 2015-16 season, Jitesh Sharma made his Ranji Trophy debut for Vidarbha. He has aggregated 553 runs in 16 first-class matches at an average of 24.04. The middle-order batter has three fifties to his name.
If Jitesh Sharma continues his impressive form in the ongoing Indian T20 League, the Vidarbha wicket-keeper batter will force the selectors to keep him in their minds while selecting the Indian squad for the upcoming T20 assignments.
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Featured photo: Twitter/Jitesh Sharma