IPL: Fraser-McGurk, Coetzee stand out among debutants in the season

Here’s a checklist on five top debutants as 2024 edition is set to draw to a close


Gautam Bhattacharyya

The IPL 2024 is barely a day away from getting over and it’s certainly time to take stock of the new talents who have caught the imagination over the last two months. From Jake Fraser-McGurk to young Angkrish Raghuvanshi, there have been a number of debutants who could be hot properties in the mega auction for the 2025 season.

The 2022-24 cycle had been the first one with 10 teams on board and the buzz is most teams will be looking at a complete overhaul of their manpower next year. There will be certainly a premium on new talents, both homegrown and overseas, as one takes a look at the top five who have outshone others on debut:

Jake Fraser-McGurk (Delhi Capitals): The lanky Australian could well be the hands down winner as the best debutant in the current season.  Capitals, struggling bigtime at the powerplay and at the top of the order at the halfway mark of the league, had their prayers answered in the shape of McGurk as he smashed 330 runs at a strike rate of 234.04, including two fifties coming in 15 balls.

An ardent admirer of David Warner, Jake believes in taking the bowlers on like him and showed an enviable ability of going through with clean hit sixes. He has been drafted as a travelling reserve with Australia’s T20 World Cup in the US and West Indies and according to Warner, it could be an invaluable experience for the youngster as the wickets there would require a bit of more patience than that of IPL.

Gerald Coetzee (Mumbai Indians): In a tournament dominated by tall scores and impact players, Gerald Coetzee – the South African speedball for Mumbai Indians –came in as a breath of fresh air. Coetzee impressed during last year’s ICC World Cup in India and MI were quick to snap him up at the mini auction for Rs five crores, which proved a really worthwhile investment.

As someone who could work up a lively pace and bounce, Coetzee finished with 13    wickets to emerge as the team’s second highest wicket taker after Jasprit Bumrah. He was certainly one of the few bright spots in an otherwise insipid MI campaign, though it remains to be seen if the cap on retained players will see him being retained for next year.

Will Jacks (Royal Challengers Bengaluru): The England allrounder came off the dugout after the first few games, courtesy the terrible form of Glenn Maxwell, and grabbed the opportunity with both hands. He started off with a blistering fifty against highfliers Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Eden, where he and Rajat Patidar put together a century partnership in chasing a 200-plus total as they fell short by just one run.

 A 41-ball century followed against Gujarat Titans, establishing his credentials as a power hitter. If he manages to have a good World T20, then the RCB management will be keen to pencil him in as one of the early retentions for next year.

Nitish Reddy
Nitish Reddy

Nitish Reddy (Sunrisers Hyderabad): The unheralded seam bowling allrounder from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh made his presence felt in a batting line-up comprising of some of the biggest hitters of the game and people are talking about him as one of the likely successors of Hardik Pandya.

The SRH management has pushed him up the order and Nitish vindicated their faith by scoring 290 runs and picking up three wickets, though he failed to capitalise on his-ever first knockout match against Rajasthan Royals on Friday.

Picked up for a base price of Rs two million, the 21-year-old looks a long term investment for the Orange Army. Don’t be surprised if you see him fast tracked into the India A team soon.

Ashutosh Sharma (Punjab Kings): It’s not easy for a debutant to make an impression for an under-achieving franchise like Punjab Kings, but the 24-year-old managed to get talked about with a surprising maturity in a number of chases for them.

An aggregate of 189 runs from 11 games, with a strike rate of 167.26 may not be exactly enough to set the house on fire, but he looked a bankable homegrown talent if Punjab plan to turn a new corner next year.

There were a few other newcomers, as well like the lanky Angkrish Raghuvanshi of KKR, who shone as an impact player in limited opportunities. Hopefully, one gets to hear from more of him in the coming seasons!

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