England spinner Monty Panesar has credited Kolkata Knight Riders 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.

Rana was coming at the back of a poor Ranji season and Vijay Hazare tournament for Delhi, which had even seen him being dropped from the side after a string of bad performances.

However, two weeks into IPL 10, and Rana is creating waves with his hitting prowess and surely if he continues in the same vein, a team India call-up is not too far behind.

In his very first match of this season’s IPL, Rana made his presence felt by scoring 34 off 28 balls. It might not have set the pulse racing but it showed that Rana was at least hitting the ball well, signified by the two sixes he hit in that match.

The stage was set for Rana in Mumbai’s next match, as they took on Gautam Gambhir-led Kolkata Knight Riders at the Wankhede stadium. It was no secret that Gambhir, who is Rana’s captain with Delhi in the domestic circuit, had wanted the left-hander to play for KKR and had even opposed the decision by coach KP Bhaskar and selectors to drop him from the Delhi outfit after poor performances in the Vijay Hazare tournament.

Rana himself has spoken in depth about the impact Gambhir has had in his career and the KKR captain’s fears came to the fore when Rana took centre stage. Rana is now the current holder of the ‘Orange Cap’ with 255 runs and also tops the most sixes charts with 16 maximums to his name.

He is quickly becoming an indispensable part of the Mumbai outfit and with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Mahela Jayawardene mentoring him, surely more good things are expected of him.

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.

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.

Gambhir is one of the most battle-hardened names of Indian cricket. His knack for discovering the talent is evident from Rana’s case. Who knows if he continues to bat like the way he has, there might be a place for him in the India squad for the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in the United Kingdom.

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