IPL 2019: Strongest XI featuring players under the age of 25

Vaibhav Joshi

Rishabh Pant had an exceptional season of IPL

We witnessed a gripping IPL this year. It all went down to the wire in the final as Mumbai Indians defeated Chennai Super Kings by a slim margin of one run to help themselves win their fourth title - an IPL record. The fans couldn't have asked for a better final.

To be precise, IPL 2019, as a whole, was no different than the IPL final. The 12th edition of IPL, spread over the course of 60 matches, served us with quite a few majestic performances. 

Undoubtedly, it was the youngsters who set the tone for the tournament. However, a few young players, who were expected to lit up the IPL, failed to do so. Nonetheless, there were quite a few young guns who took their game to the next level and entertained the fans with some great performances

Thus, weighing the performances of the youngsters in this particular edition of the IPL, let us churn out a competitive playing XI featuring players in the age bracket of 25 and less.

Note: The concept of only four overseas players is applied here as well. Besides that, pending the age bracket of 25 and less, the players above the age of 25 years and 0 days are not considered here. Stats mentioned in the article are true as of 15 May 2019.

#1 Sanju Samson (Rajasthan Royals)

Sanju Samson proved to be instrumental for RR

Sanju Samson, a young batting prospect from Kerala, happened to be one of the most integral batsmen for Rajasthan Royals this season. However, due to an unfortunate injury, Sanju had to miss a couple of matches.

Nonetheless, in the remaining twelve games, Samson delivered the goods for RR as he concluded his 2019 IPL journey as the second highest run-getter for RR. Having featured in 12 games in IPL 2019, the Keralite amassed 342 runs at an excellent average of 34.20 and an outstanding strike rate of 148.29. 

Thus, having opened the innings for Rajasthan on quite a few occasions, Samson calls for a legit choice as an opener in this XI. 

#2 Shubman Gill (Kolkata Knight Riders)

Shubman Gill struck three fifties in this edition of IPL

Shubman Gill, a talented top-order batsman from Punjab, remained pretty much underused at the start of IPL 2019 as the Kolkata Knight Riders went ahead with Sunil Narine as their desired opening option alongside Chris Lynn. Nevertheless, Dinesh Karthik soon realized the mistake and promoted Gill to open the innings for KKR which in all aspects benefitted the youngster.

In the 12th edition of the IPL, the 19-year-old played 14 games for Kolkata, while notching-up 296 runs at a decent average of 32.88 and an above-par strike-rate of 124.36. Pending his outstanding display with the willow, Shubman also bagged the Emerging Player Award for IPL 2019. 

Hence, considering his decent show with the bat, Gill happens to be a sure-shot addition to this playing XI. 

#3 Shreyas Iyer (Delhi Capitals) (Captain)

Shreyas Iyer led DC to the playoffs

Shreyas Iyer had a great IPL, both as a player and as a captain. Under the tutelage of Iyer, Delhi Capitals made it to the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Not only did he lead his team to the playoffs, but he also made some crucial contributions for the Capitals with the bat.

Having been part of 16 games, the DC skipper scored 463 runs at an average of 30.86 and a strike-rate of just about 120. And hence, pending his exceptional skills as a player and as a captain, he forces himself in this XI as a middle-order batsman and more importantly as the captain of the side.

#4 Rishabh Pant (Delhi Capitals) (Wicket-keeper)

Rishabh Pant happened to be one of the best batsmen at the camps of DC

Rishabh Pant was one of the main reasons behind Delhi's success in this edition of the IPL. The southpaw was by far the best batsman for the Capitals in this year's IPL. His spirited and well-designed knocks supplied a sense of composure to Delhi's batting line-up.

The left-handed wicket-keeper batsman happened to be part of 16 games for Delhi this season. In his journey of 16 IPL games, the Delhite managed to score 488 runs at an astounding average of 37.53 and a hot-shot strike-rate of 162.66. Besides his outstanding show with the bat, he impressed us with the gloves as well. Hence, his place in this playing XI is justified. 

#5 Nicholas Pooran (Kings XI Punjab)

Nicholas Pooran played a decent brand of cricket for KXIP

Nicholas Pooran, the West Indian batting prodigy, didn't get much game-time in the middle. However, in the limited chances that he got, the left-hander put up some decent show with the bat for the Kings XI Punjab. Alongside that, he kept the wickets for Punjab in a few games as well.

Having starred in seven matches for KXIP, Pooran amassed 168 runs at a decent average of 28.00 and an exceptional strike-rate of 157.00. Thus, with pretty decent numbers up his sleeve, Pooran makes his way to this playing XI.

#6 Riyan Parag (Rajasthan Royals)

Riyan Parag will be a prospective addition for RR in the coming years

Riyan Parag, a young prospect from Assam, emerged to be a quality all-round option for Rajasthan Royals in the lower middle-order. Parag failed to kick-off his IPL journey on a positive note, however, he eventually cemented his base in Rajasthan's line-up. The 17-year-old's contribution, both with the bat and ball, came in handy for the Royals.

The youngster happened to be a part of seven IPL games while scoring 160 runs at an average of 32.00, and a strike-rate just under 127. He also struck a fifty in this edition of IPL and became the youngest ever player to score an IPL fifty. In addition to that, he also scalped two wickets for Royals this season. Hence, with a decent show at the camps of RR, he books himself a spot in this playing XI.

#7 Rashid Khan (Sunrisers Hyderabad)

Rashid Khan performed decently with the ball

Rashid Khan had a decent IPL this year. Although Rashid failed to entertain us with the bat, the Afghanistani performed brilliantly with the ball. As usual, the leggie turned out to be the best bet for the Sun Risers Hyderabad in the spin department as he picked up the second most number of wickets for SRH in this season.

Having been part of 15 IPL games, Rashid picked up 17 wickets at an average of 22.17, strike-rate of 21.17, and an economy of 6.28. Much so, his contributions proved to be pivotal for SRH in IPL 2019. Thus, considering his performances for SRH in IPL 2019, he finds a place in this XI.

#8 Jofra Archer (Rajasthan Royals)

Jofra Archer was the leading pacer at the camps of RR

Jofra Archer was by far the best pacer for Rajasthan Royals in this edition of IPL. His sheer pace made life hell for the batsmen. Although he failed to perform to his fullest, he did manage to stabilize Royals' fast bowling department.

Having featured in 11 matches, Archer scalped 11 wickets at a decent average of 26.45, strike-rate of 23.45, and an economy of 6.76. In addition to that, he also played a few vital cameos with the bat for the Royals. All in all, Archer happened to be a crucial player for RR this season. Hence, he finds himself in this young XI.

#9 Kagiso Rabada (Delhi Capitals)

Kagiso Rabada was pivotal in DC's road to the playoffs

Kagiso Rabada, the young bowling sensation from South Africa, made life a lot easier for Shreyas Iyer and the Delhi management. The Proteas pacer happened to be the most prominent bowler for DC this season. His fiery pace kept the batsmen on their toes and he gave everyone a run for their money.

While having played 12 games for DC in this edition of IPL, Rabada managed to take 25 wickets at an outstanding average of 14.72, strike-rate of 11.28, and an economy of 7.82. With 25 wickets to his name, the South African pacer finished as the second highest wicket-taker in this edition of IPL. Sadly, he had to return to South Africa in the business-end of the tournament, owing to an injury. His majestic numbers pretty much define his place in this playing XI.

#10 Rahul Chahar (Mumbai Indians)

Rahul Chahar was the pick of the spinners for Mumbai

In this very edition of the IPL, Rahul Chahar turned out to be the best spin bowling option for Mumbai Indians. Rohit Sharma-led MI effectively used Rahul at the right intervals which put pressure on the opposition as the young leg spinner deceived the batsmen more often than not.

Having been part of 13 IPL games for Mumbai, the young spinner picked up 13 wickets at an excellent average of 23.69, strike-rate of 21.69, and an economy of 6.55. Hence, his desired place in the spin department of this XI.

#11 Khaleel Ahmed (Sunrisers Hyderabad)

Khaleel Ahmed was exceptional with the ball for SRH this year

Khaleel Ahmed had an impressive stint at the camps of SRH. The left-arm bowler was pivotal in Sunrisers Hyderabad's race to the playoffs. The paceman from Tonk - a small town in Rajasthan - made a lot of contributions for Hyderabad as their bowling heavyweight - Bhuvneshwar Kumar - seemed a tad off this season.

Surprisingly, Khaleel didn't get the number of chances that he deserved and featured in only nine games for SRH. However, in these nine games, the lanky pacer scalped 19 wickets at an extraordinary average of 15.10, strike-rate of 11.00, and an economy of 8.23.