India leg-break spinner Ravi Bishnoi turned 22 yesterday. He is widely considered one of the best emerging Indian cricketers.
Bishnoi is a brand athlete for GNC India. Through this partnership, Bishnoi helps improve the credibility of sports nutrition. Reportedly, he has an INR 14 crore net worth, comprising endorsement deals and salary. Lucknow Super Giants paid him INR 4 crore for the 2022 season. Before playing for LSG, he played for Punjab Kings.
Bishnoi made his T20 debut for Rajasthan Royals in the 2018-19 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy season. He eventually made his List-A debut in the 2019-20 Vijay Hazare Trophy for Rajasthan. He received his first call for the India-A side later in the same year.
He started to draw significant attention when he played for India in the 2020 Under-19 Cricket World Cup. He completed the tournament with 17 wickets and was named the top performer of the event.
In 2022, Bishnoi made his international ODI & T20 debut against West Indies. He picked up two wickets and was named the Player of the Match for his performance. He has played 10 T20I matches since then.
Bishnoi eventually made his way to the Asia Cup 2022 squad, thanks to Indian senior spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. He was part of the playing XI in the Super 4 match against Pakistan.
Challenging start, training with experts
Before being well-known years ago, Bishnoi was rejected in trials in the Rajasthan Under-19 circuit. His father, Mangi Lal, then decided it would be best for Bishnoi to focus on his studies instead of cricket.
Indian coach Shahrukh Pathan later convinced Bishnoi to give cricket another chance. He spoke to former Rajasthan coach Dishant Yagnik and pushed him to have another look at Bishnoi.
Bishnoi was eventually called. He caught a skilled U-19 batsman of the state team twice in his first two balls, convincing the selectors that he had talent. Bishnoi made his Rajastahna debut in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy, where, in the first match, he claimed five wickets.
Bishnoi said spinning was not his first choice and he wanted to be a medium pacer instead. However, his two coaches, Pathan and Pradyot Singh, said his physique was not suitable for a pacer.
“There were hardly any leg-spinner in India around four-five years ago. We felt there were more chances for a leg-spinner to play higher cricket, especially a leggie who can bat. Leg-spin is an art and it takes time and perfection. At the same time, he was too small, he used to run like a medium pacer, he didn’t have strong shoulder or strong legs,” Pathan said.
“They told me to bowl leg-spin, I started to bowl, and soon they felt I should take this seriously,” Bishnoi said.
Bishnoi said he got some help from team India head coach Rahul Dravid during his time at the National Cricket Academy. Dravid's advice proved useful to his career.
“Rahul sir told me that try to make the ball come back to the batsman. As in, don’t offer width outside off and allow the batsman to cut or use the pace and work in the gaps. Attack the stumps, keep it straight and make the batsman drive back to you,” Bishnoi said.