Chris Gayle was on fire for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 encounter against Gujarat Lions (GL) on Tuesday night at Rajkot but it was young Kerala speedster Basil Thampi who halted the Jamaican's innings. Not just that, the Gujarat youngster returned with economical figures of 1/31 and bowled the maximum (11) dot balls. So impressive was Thampi that he's caught the eye of West Indies' World T20-winning and Gujarat all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who believes his uncapped team-mate could soon represent India.
"Basil Thampi is a very, very talented youngster. I would say he will get the opportunity to play for Team India in a year or so. He has the talent, obviously, but he also has a lot of heart, pace and the skill. He's always willing to learn," Bravo said on Wednesday.
After impressing fans in the match against Mumbai Indians by consistently bowling yorkers, the stout pacer was brilliant on Tuesday when he halted Gayle after he smashed a 38-ball 77 to reach 10,000 runs. Thampi set it up with a yorker and trapped him next ball with another full-length delivery.
An excited Bravo, who is recovering from a hamstring injury, went straight to the Kerala pacer and said he would like to take him under his wings.
"He's willing to learn. He asks the right questions. I think India cricket is in right direction when you have someone like him. Bowling 140-plus, like Indian speedsters Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Thampi has the skill and is really good.
"I really wish him all the best from the bottom of my heart," he added.
Bravo is ready to offer tips to the 23-year-old.
"I follow him very closely, I try to give him a lot of confidence and experience, explain to him, break down the game to him. He's still in a learning phase. He has the raw natural talent and ability. It's a matter of playing more games, give him more experience and exposure."
Talking about himself, Bravo has said he's "a game or two away" from returning to action.
He had taken 17 wickets from 15 matches last season and his absence is hurting the Gujarat Lions, who are struggling at the bottom of the table with just a win from five matches.
(With PTI inputs)