IPL 2022: Punjab Kings’ Jitesh Sharma Spills the Beans on His Transition From Opener to a Middle-order Batter

From opener to finisher, Punjab Kings’ Jitesh Sharma spills the beans on his transition in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The wicketkeeper-batter has been one of the biggest finds of this season.

Sharma has chipped with some crucial quick innings in the middle order for Punjab, providing good support to the teams’ power-packed top order. The youngster hadn’t always been a middle-order batter and used to play as an opener for his home team Vidarbha. Since Punjab has a packed top order, Sharma had to transition to a middle-order batter to take his place.

Speaking about the experience of playing in the middle-order, Sharma revealed he had been struggling in facing swinging deliveries at the start of the game.

“Nagpur is a hot city. It would get exhausting to start the practice once the sun rose high, so we would start early, like 6 AM, during practice days. The early morning wicket would be different, it would swing a lot, and I was among the batters struggling to face those deliveries,” Sharma told in an interview with the Punjab Kings.

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The 28-year-old added that his Vidarbha coach Pritam Gandhe first advised him to bat a little lower in the order. So that the pitch’s moisture dries up and batting becomes easier. “Batting lower, I would come out at 9 AM or 10 AM, and I clearly batted differently,” Sharma was quoted as saying.

The change in the batting position did wonders for Sharma’s form. The batter had a successful 2021-2022 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy season contributing to Vidarbha’s run to the semifinals of the tournament.

The ability to deliver long hits in pressure situations earned Sharma a position in Punjab’s middle order. And there hasn’t been looking back since.

He has scored 79 in three games at an impressive strike rate of 183.72 and an average of 39.50. In his last outing against Mumbai Indians on Wednesday, Sharma scored an unbeaten 15-ball 30 to propel Punjab’s total to 198 runs at the end of the innings.

The youngster also earned praise for his glovework behind stumps from none other than MS Dhoni after he caught the Chennai Super Kings star’s knick going down the leg. While the on-field umpires did not seem convinced by Sharma’s appeal, the youngster asked skipper Mayank Agarwal to take a DRS. The wicket of Dhoni gave a major breakthrough to Punjab in that match.

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