Having made a promising debut last season, our wicketkeeper-batter Jitesh Sharma continued to showcase his brilliant power-hitting capabilities in the ongoing TATA Indian Premier League (IPL).
The 29-year-old amassed 309 runs in 14 matches at an impressive strike rate of 156.06.
Consistency In The Middle Order
Batting in the middle order, Jitesh has been a consistent performer for us this season. He has played several noteworthy high-impact innings. Knocks such as 21(11), 27(16), 41(27), 25(7), 24(10), 21(10), 49*(27), 21(18) and 44(28) helped us put up competitive totals in almost every game.
Having enhanced his reputation as a designated finisher, the Amravati-born cricketer has smashed 22 fours and 21 sixes in TATA IPL 2023.
Jitesh earlier made his mark in the previous edition of the TATA IPL. The swashbuckling batter scored 234 runs in 12 matches at a strike rate of 163.64.
Teammates In Awe
Our star all-rounder, Sikandar Raza, has heaped praise on teammate Jitesh Sharma.
“The guy that has impressed me the most is Jitesh Sharma. It would be great if he ends up playing for India. India being so top-heavy, imagine having a wicketkeeper who can bat like him down the order. I think he has been the player to look out for,” Raza was quoted as saying to ESPNcricinfo.
Earlier in the season, Rahul Chahar credited Jitesh for his match-winning cameo during our historic win over CSK at Chepauk.
“Jitesh is making the difference, like coming and hitting sixes on the first or second ball. I think it is very good,” Chahar said at the post-match press conference.
Claim For National Call-Up
Following his scintillating performances, several former cricketers have backed Jitesh to be the ideal replacement for injured Rishabh Pant in the Indian cricket team’s white-ball set-up.
Our spin-bowling coach, Sunil Joshi, has expressed that it is only a matter of time before Jitesh makes his India debut.
“Jitesh has been wonderful. It shows his quality and one of the reasons he was picked in the Indian team in place of Sanju Samson. In the last 18 months, he has performed in domestic and TATA IPL, and that is the reason he is ahead of some other wicketkeepers,” Joshi said in an interview to PTI.
Former England captain Kevin Pietersen has opined that Jitesh could be Pant's replacement.
“Jitesh Sharma, the wicket-keeper from Punjab Kings, is also something special. I think he could be the guy who takes over from Rishabh Pant for India, if Pant is out for a while longer,” Pietersen wrote in his column for Betway.
Having mastered the art of hitting out from the very first ball, Jitesh could be a valuable asset for the Indian cricket team.