“You can’t play Ravi Bishnoi on the backfoot, as he will invariably rush on to the pads,” said the leggie’s coach Shahrukh Pathan while laying down a perfect analysis of the youngster’s style of play during the U-19 World Cup in South Africa.
Ravi Bishnoi, who was immaculate and accurate throughout the U-19 World Cup, ended his tenure with a whopping 17 wickets in the just six games, and the aforementioned trait was exactly the reason why he was so successful with the ball.
What made the youngster an exciting prospect throughout the tournament was his ability to deliver variations during the need of the hour. The biggest ammunition in his arsenal, however, were his googlies, which none of his opposition players managed to decode, and the fact that he picked all of his four wickets in the final with a googly is the perfect specimen of it.
“For a leg-spinner if you go by the book, the left hand should come up straight like a clock hand at 12 o’clock,” Pathan was quoted by Indian Express.
“Bishnoi’s would come from, say, 11 o’clock. A bit like Anil Kumble, I would say, tilting a touch to his left side. That angle of release has helped the trajectory being a touch different from usual, and has also made his googly a bit more difficult to pick.”
“The googly skids on, and there’s not much time for the batsmen to adjust. Since the action and release is so natural for him, the speed on the ball does the trick,” Pathan says.
The youngster had as many as three four-wicket hauls – against the likes of Japan, New Zealand and Bangladesh – and his excellence wasn’t only limited to the wickets as he also maintained an economy of 3.48 in the 52 overs he bowled during the competition.
An unfortunate conclusion to the U-19 World Cup final on Sunday, however, overshadowed Ravi Bishoi’s excellence, but it is just a start of something very big.
Ravi Bishnoi’s way to the U-19 World Cup finals is an interesting tale to tell. Back in 2018 when he was bowling in the nets for the fellow Indian Premier League side Rajasthan Royals, the leggie had a huge decision to make; to pursue his passion of following the sport he loves or go home and prepare for the 12th board exam. And well, he chose the former.
In the final, Bangladesh endured a perfect start to their chase, but skidded as soon as Ravi Bishnoi was thrown into attack. It was him who masterminded Bangladesh’s top-order collapse, which eventually forced them to just sit back and defend rather than going for runs. It wasn’t that they had deciphered his technique during the middle-overs, they were just waiting for his spell to get over.
The youngster eventually ended his day with a figure of 10-3-30-4, and with 17 wickets in the tournament, he became India's leading wicket-taker ever in a single U-19 World Cup edition, surpassing the likes of Shalabh Srivastava (2000), Abhishek Sharma (2002), Kuldeep Yadav (2014) and Anukul Roy (2018).
The 19-year-old, who was named Man of the Match twice during the tournament, was picked by Kings XI Punjab in the VIVO Indian Premier League auction in December 2019, and judging by his recent returns, which read 4/30, 2/46, 1/26, 4/30, 4/5, 2/44, it is safe to say the fans are up for some exciting times ahead.