Two years ago, budding cricketer Vishnu Vinod changed his Facebook profile picture to a photo of AB de Villiers playing the scoop shot for the RCB. Today, the youngster is gearing up to play the star-studded IPL with the South African legend as his team-mate.

 

Who is Vishnu Vinod?

 

Vishnu hails from Kallissery near Thiruvalla and is a final year student of BA Political Science at Mar Thoma College, Thiruvalla. The 23-year-old is an aggressive batsman who opens for the Kerala state team but is also capable of batting down the order. Apart from being a handy wicketkeeper, he is a very good outfielder as well. 

 

How did he make it to the IPL? 

 

Vishnu had grabbed eyeballs with his consistent performances in recently concluded Inter-State Twenty-20, Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy tournaments. However, he went unsold in the IPL auctions earlier this year. But after Rahul was ruled out for the IPL season with a shoulder injury, RCB called up four players - three wicketkeeper batsmen including Vishnu and Karnataka all-rounder Pavan Deshpande - for selection trials in Bengaluru last week. Vishnu impressed at the trials facing RCB’s overseas stars Shane Watson, Tymal Mills and Adam Milne in the nets under the watchful eyes of coach Daniel Vettori. He saw off tough competition from his rivals - Deshpande, Himachal Pradesh's Prashant Chopra and Tamil Nadu's Narayan Jagadeesan, who was seen as a favourite - to sign up for RCB.

How did Vishnu fare in his IPL debut?

 

Vishnu scored only nine runs in his IPL debut in RCB's match against Delhi Daredevils on Saturday. However, let's not forget that he came out to bat at the death and was under pressure to increase the run rate. He did have a moment to shine during his cameo though, launching Daredevils captain and veteran Indian pacer Zaheer Khan for a six over long-on, before running himself out the next ball in a selfless attempt to hand over the strike to the in-form Jadhav.

 

What are Vishnu's chances of featuring regularly with RCB in IPL 2016?

 

RCB don't have a specialist wicketkeeper in their ranks this season. With Rahul sidelined for the entire season, Vishnu now has a massive opportunity to feature regularly. RCB do have the option of handing the gloves to AB de Villiers or Kedhar Jadhav, who are both regular starters and comfortable behind the stumps or even Travis Head, but Vishnu should be fine for the next couple of matches. And if he manages to impress in those games, he should be able to continue featuring in the XI.

How does Vishnu see himself in the star-studded IPL?

 

"Being aggressive with the bat comes naturally to me. Sticking with that approach has helped so far. I don't intend to change that unless it becomes necessary. IPL is something I've been wanting to be a part of all this time. I just want to go out there and keep doing my best so that selectors can take notice of me," the youngster said after being drafted into the RCB squad.