What’s the story?
England spinner Monty Panesar has credited Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain Gautam Gambhir for ‘finding’ the promising Nitish Rana. Lauding the Indian opener’s eye for spotting talent, the 34-year-old also heaped praise on the Mumbai Indians batsman.
In a message on his official Twitter account, Panesar called Rana a ‘star’ and alluded to the left-hander’s journey into the limelight from his club cricket days in Delhi. Gambhir responded by agreeing with the spinner’s assessment and urged the 23-year-old to keep working hard in order to make the most of his potential.
After scoring a 36-ball 45 to help Mumbai Indians ace the chase against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rana opened up on the influence of Gambhir on his rise to fame. His senior Delhi team mate had played a key role in motivating him after a tumultuous Ranji Trophy season. Both batsmen hail from the same club in Delhi and the veteran had been following the southpaw’s progress for the last ten years or so.
The heart of the matter
With 255 runs from six matches, Rana is *currently the leading run-scorer in the 2017 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). All of his three fifty-plus scores have resulted in Mumbai Indians cruising to victory in tricky chases. The left-hander’s 16 sixes in the tournament is also the most by any batsman thus far.
He has earned praise from various quarters for his composed batting during pressure situations. Rana’s consistency can be discerned from the fact that he has crossed the 30-mark in five out of six innings until now.
(*Note: All Statistics are accurate as of 21st April before the start of the KKR-GL game)
Rana’s next assignment will be against Delhi Daredevils at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday. With one eye on impressing the national selectors, he will be hoping to continue his impressive form and make a mark against a seam-heavy bowling attack.
Having represented his country in more than 200 games across all formats, Gambhir is one of the most battle-hardened names of Indian cricket. His knack for discovering the talent in upcoming players is evident from Rana’s case. If the promising southpaw maintains his remarkable run till the end of the tournament, even a national call-up is not out of the question.