Jaipur, 27 March 2023: After a gap of three seasons, the Indian Premier League finally returns to the city’s Sawai Mansingh Stadium in April, and with it, brings a lot of firsts as well. One of those firsts is for the Indian trio of Akash Vashisht, Abdul Bazith, and Kunal Rathore, along with Donovan Ferreira. The four new players are preparing for their first-ever IPL season, and are looking forward to contributing to the team’s success during the campaign.
Speaking during their first week of training in the pink city, Himachal Pradesh’s Akash Vashisht expressed his delight at the opportunity and believes his hard work is being rewarded. “There was an extended rough period in my life when it comes to cricket, but I think the past couple of years have really lifted me up,” the left-hander said.
“Things have fallen into place, and I’m extremely delighted that the Rajasthan Royals have shown faith in my abilities. I know chances might be hard to come by, but I’m preparing for my first season with a lot of hope and also ensuring that I’m ready when the time comes,” added Vashisht, who has a strike rate of 146.36 in the 17 T20s he’s played for his state.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s Donovan Ferreira is thankful that he chose to make a comeback into cricket. Having left the sport for a job in sales with a local sports equipment manufacturer due to lack of confidence, the 24-year-old was invited to resume wicketkeeping by his Titans’ coach Mandla Mashimbyi. Ever since, Ferreira has been on the up. “When I look back now, I’m glad I decided to come back to the thing I love the most. I’ve had a great season overall, and to be given the chance to play in the IPL is something every cricketer dreams of. I’m loving the environment and really looking forward to playing in India for the first time,” he said.
Whereas Rajasthan’s own Kunal Rathore, comes from a family of cricketers, and is proud to be rubbing shoulders with the elites.The 20-year-old was a part of the Royals Colts programme, the franchise's first grassroots programme designed to unearth fresh, young talent and nurture them. “My parents and my elder brother have played cricket, so this sport is something that matters a lot to me. I grew up watching and supporting the Rajasthan Royals, and coming here is a dream come true for me. I am really enjoying working with the likes of Kumar Sangakkara and Sanju Samson, and am focused on learning more and improving every day,” said the left-handed wicketkeeper-batter from Kota.
For 24-year-old Abdul Bazith, the IPL is the greatest competition, but credits the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for the chance he has got. “I made my domestic debut for Kerala through the competition (SMAT), and I know it is just the start. Getting into the IPL is not easy, but I know that I’m here because the Royals have seen potential in me, and I want to ensure I’m doing everything I can to make this season a successful one for the team,” said the right-hander who made his debut for the Kerala senior team in October 2022.
With a week remaining for the start of IPL 2023, these young and talented individuals will be hoping that their first experience of the competition will be a fruitful one, which also propels their respective careers in the sport.
Sanju Samson-led Rajasthan Royals will kickstart their IPL 2023 campaign on 2nd April 2023 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Hyderabad.
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Rajasthan Royals were the champions of the inaugural 2008 season and in 2021 completed a major shareholding restructure, with Emerging Media having the majority ownership of the franchise with support from new co-investor RedBird Capital Partners.
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