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IPL Auction 2022: Big Pay-Day Highlights Why Cricket Is Now A Career Choice For Generation Next

At least three teenagers, including U-19 World Cuppers Tilak Varma, Raj Bawa and Rajvardhan Hangargekar, have bagged lucrative IPL contracts.

Rajvardhan Hangargekar from Marathwada region is a symbol of young boys aspiring to make it big.
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The IPL auction 2022 held in Bengaluru last weekend shows the growing ambition of youngsters to make a career out of playing just cricket in India. Interestingly, these cricketers are not from metropolitan cities but tier two or even tier-three cities across the country. 

MS Dhoni is a classic example of a young man from a middle-class family living in a tier 2 city rising to the highest echelons of sports. While not everyone can become a Dhoni, at least cricket has fired the imagination of Generation Next. 

IPL auctions have always thrown up surprises. They may say that 'cricketers are bought and sold like cattle' during the auction but no team wants to waste money on any player they can't trust.

Scouting has improved tremendously with many teams like Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals investing in a talent hunt and development programme round the year.

Names like Yash Dayal, Tilak Varma and Abhinav Manohar hardly ever grab headlines. But on Sunday, they stole a lot of spotlight when their names were mentioned and teams bid heavily to secure them.

Raj Bawa and  Rajvardhan Hangargekar were recently in the news as Indian colts won a record fifth ICC Under-19 World Cup in the West Indies. Come IPL 2022 in March-end, Dayal, Varma and Manohar will be names to watch out for.

Yash Dayal (INR 3.2 crores, Gujarat Titans)

Allahabad-born 24-year-old Yash Dayal was groomed to be a pacer ever since his father Chandarpal Dayal, a former fast bowler who played in Vizzy Trophy in the late 80s and early 90s, spotted his talent at an early age of six. By the time Yash went for advanced training at 12, his father Chandarpal had worked hard on his son's basics to make sure he just needed a proper guidance to go forward.

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Gujarat Titans bought Yash Dayal for Rs 3.2 crore, 16 times more than his base price. (Photo: Twitter)

It came as no surprise when Yash Dayal joined the U-19 camp of Uttar Pradesh within two years and impressed with his bowling, clocking over 130 kmph. His pace and ability to swing the ball were rather impressive. 

Yash Dayal bagged 14 wickets across seven games with an economy rate of 3.77 in the 2021-22 Vijay Hazare Trophy. In domestic circuit, Yash has 83 wickets to his name in 41 matches across all formats for Uttar Pradesh.

Born and brought up in a humble family, the Dayals will now become millionaires. Yash's INR 3.2 crores IPL deal with Gujarat Titans will come with high expectations. Only performance will justify his price tag.

Abhinav Manohar (INR 2.6 crore, Gujarat Titans)

Not much used to the limelight before hitting an eye-catching 70 off 49 against Saurashtra in his maiden Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy game three months back, Bangalore-born 27-year-old Abhinav Manohar Sadarangani had set a base price of INR 20 lakh for himself but bagged INR 2.6 crore at IPL auction 2022.

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Gujarat Titans bought Abhinav Manohar for INR 2.6 crore at IPL auction 2022. (Photo: Twitter)

Ever since his childhood, the only thing his parents have asked from Abhinav Manohar is to focus on playing cricket. They never forced him to study or go for a job after finishing college. The plan has worked as Manohar's INR 2.6 crore contract with Gujarat Titans will come as a gamechanger for the batsman.

Despite a short-stint at Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021-22, Abhinav Manohar ended the tournament on a high with 162 runs across four innings at an average of 54 and a strike rate of 150. However, even before that Abhinav Manohar had been a seasoned player in Karnataka Premier League T20 tournament since his debut at the event in 2014.

Raj Bawa (INR 2 crores, Punjab Kings)

Sports was in his blood and influenced by an international match at Dharamshala, Raj Bawa took to serious cricket at 13. Given that his father, Sukhwinder Singh Bawa, was himself a cricket coach, good guidance was always at hand. And there was inspiration too. Grandfather Tarlochan Singh Bawa was a member of the gold-winning Indian hockey team at the 1948 Olympics in London. 

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Raj Bawa was one of the architects of India's U-19 Cricket World Cup-winning campaign. (Photo: BCCI)

Himachal Pradesh-born Raj Bawa was a hero of India’s successful U-19 World Cup campaign recently. He hogged the limelight after becoming the Indian player with highest individual score (162 not out) in U-19 World Cup history.

Raj Bawa established his all-round credentials when the Chandigarh-based youngster took a five-wicket haul alongside scoring crucial 35 runs to bag the Player of the Match award in the final of 2022 U-19 World Cup against England.

Raj scored 252 runs across five innings at the recently-concluded U-19 World Cup. He tool nine wickets too. 

Tilak Varma (INR 1.7 crores, Mumbai Indians)

Hyderabad's Tilak Varma was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His electrician father Namboori Nagaraju did not have the money to send his son to a cricket academy. Salam Bayash arrived as a messiah in their lives. Coach Bayash backed Tilak Varma's dreams of becoming a professional cricketer. Perseverance and dedication helped.

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Tilak Varma was a member of the Indian Under-19 team and bagged a handsome INR 1.7 crores contract with Mumbai Indians at the IPL auction 2022. Tilak had a a base price of INR 20 lakhs and never expected such a “big price deal.”

MI has invested in a young man who has potential. He has scored 180 runs across five games and taken four wickets in the 2021-22 Vijay Hazare Trophy. He had a strike rate of 147.26 in the recent edition of Syed Mushtaq Ali where he played seven games and scored 215 runs.

Rajvardhan Hangargekar (INR 1.5 Crores, Chennai Super Kings)

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Making a switch from off-spin to fast bowling at the age of 14, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, born in Tuljapur, a town in Maharashtra’s Marathwada region known for its religious significance, turned out to be a masterstroke. Soon, Rajvardhan was termed “stallion” by trainer Tejas Matapurkar for his raw speed and impressive work ethic.

With good practice, Rajvardhan Hangargekar improved his speed from 120s to 130s as he grew up as a robust fast bowler. He had to make adjustments in his bowling length also, but his coach Mohan Jadhav made sure the transition happened smoothly.

From leaving PUBG to staying away in a rented house away from his home for training, 19-year-old Hangargekar made a lot of sacrifices that is a must for every budding cricketer who aspires to play for India or in IPL in a country that has a population of over 1.3 billion.

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However, all the pain and sacrifices seemed worthy when the fast-bowling all-rounder from Maharashtra shone in the U-19 World Cup this year. It came at the right time, just ahead of the IPL mega auction. 

Hangargekar had set a base price of INR 30 lakhs for himself but bagged a contract with MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings that made him five times richer. Rajvardhan Hangargekar’s combined ability to deliver at a pace of around 140 kmph and striking the ball clean and powerfully makes him tailor-made for T20 cricket. 

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