Jitesh Sharma
Jitesh Sharma.Image Credits: Twitter

In Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, Punjab Kings (PBKS)  wicket-keeper batter, Jitesh Sharma is likely to play in place of injured Jonny Bairstow. He has also called former Australia player Adam Gilchrist his inspiration, while speaking to the Times of India.

The England wicketkeeper-batsman has been ruled out of IPL owing to the freak injury he suffered last year. There were doubts over his participation for quite some time now although the franchise was hopeful that he might recover just in time for the sixteenth edition of the IPL.

Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow. Image Credits: Twitter

Jitesh Sharma highlights his learning from Jonny Bairstow in the 2022 edition-

I have admired Adam Gilchrist since my childhood. He is my inspiration. The way he used to play, the way he used to keep, the way he showed his energy on the field, and the way he used to lift his team was just tremendous to watch. I never saw any dull moments when he was on the field,” said the 20-year-old gloveman.

The Vidarbha wicketkeeper got up his maiden Indian call in January 2023 against Sri Lanka for the T20I series. So far, Jitesh has played 12 matches to date in his IPL career and has scored 234 runs, with an average of 29.25. He has the highest IPL score of 44 runs. In the IPL Auction 2023, the Punjab franchise bagged Jitesh for INR 20.00 Lakhs.

Last year Jonny and I worked a lot on my keeping. I got the opportunity to spend a lot of time with him. He gave me a lot of tips. The tips on keeping, mental aspect of the game, how to be aware during a game, the movement while keeping during a match, what the basic rules of wicket-keeping are,” he further added.

While Jonny Bairstow resumed batting training in Yorkshire recently, he is nowhere close to match fitness. As per ESPNcricinfo, the opening batter in the last edition of IPL in 2022, played 11 matches and scored 253 runs with over 140 strike rate for PBKS. While the Punjab-based side finished in the sixth spot in the points table.

I learned a lot from him last season. It is really unfortunate that he is not in the team this year. He is someone who can make a difference in the team as a batsman, keeper, and as a person as well. He has an abundance of experience. He can see and visualise the game in a way most cricketers can’t. We are going to miss Barstow,” concluded Sharma.

Whereas  IPL 2023, kicks off with the opening game against Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on March 31, PBKS will start their camping against KKR on April 1 at Mohali.

Also read: IPL 2023: Anil Kumble Picks Former PBKS Batter, Who Also Played for RCB and KKR, As The Undisputed G.O.A.T. In The IPL