HomeCricketJoshua Little’s Impressive Start in IPL 2024

Joshua Little’s Impressive Start in IPL 2024

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After bagging a four-fer in his first match of IPL 2024, Joshua Little is now enjoying the admiration and attention that comes with such a feat. 

We saw an incredible display of pace bowling from him on May 4 as he took on the Royal Challengers Bengaluru at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. With a modest total to defend, Josh bowled his heart out and was rewarded with the wickets of Faf du Plessis, Rajat Patidar, Glenn Maxwell, and Cameron Green. 

Though this was his first match of the season, he was with Gujarat Titans last season as well. He played a total of 10 games last season, in which he picked up 7 wickets. He also made it to the history books, becoming the first Irish cricketer to be a part of the Indian Premier League. 

The 24-year-old Irish left-arm pacer has done reasonably well in the last few years on the international stage as well. Let’s take a look at his unconventional cricketing journey. 

Dual Passion in Sports

Josh started as a hockey player until he was 10. He went on to represent the Ireland under-16 and under-18 hockey teams in his youth. A 10-year-old Joshua also used to go to Dublin’s Pembroke Cricket Club simultaneously. 

During an interview, Joshua said, “I was playing hockey in school at the time with one of my friends. They’re an Asian family, and his dad was like, ‘You’ve got hand-eye coordination; do you want to come down to our cricket club and just give it a go?’ From day one, I thought there was something there with the old cricket, so I’ve stuck at it.”

Joshua went to be a part of the Leinster Under-11 side. Five years later, he was picked in Ireland’s squad for the ICC Under-19 World Cup in 2016. He made an instant impact when he got the better of Indian Captain, Ishan Kishan during the team’s tournament opener against India. Little finished with impressive figures of 3 for 52. 

For a 16-year-old, to bowl around 130–135 kph consistently was rare. And it was this ability that saw him get called up for the national team later that year. Josh eventually made his international debut against Hong Kong on September 5, 2016. At the time, he was just 16 years and 309 days old. 

Before making his international debut, Josh was also picked as a net bowler for a series against Sri Lanka in June 2016. Graham Ford, who was the head coach of Sri Lanka at the time, spoke highly of Joshua’s ability. 

“I remember there was this young lad bowling left-arm at a lively pace, swinging the ball nicely in the nets. I overheard a few of our players asking him why he wasn’t in the squad,” Ford narrated in an interview. 

A Change in Direction 

However, Josh faced a bit of a setback when he injured the ligaments in his right ankle during a college hockey match. It was then that Joshua decided to call an end to his professional hockey-playing ambitions. 

“After I picked up that injury, which was in the final of my last year at school, it hit me that I needed to give it up. I played hockey first, but as I got better and better at cricket, I realised, I reckon I’ll make it as a cricketer instead of a hockey player,” Josh recalled.

A Debut To Remember

Josh made his return to the national cricket side in 2018 for a T20 series against Afghanistan. Josh made his presence felt yet again as he took a couple of wickets while conceding just 20 runs in his first game after the injury. This performance also saw him getting picked in the Irish squad for tours of Oman in February and Afghanistan in March of 2019. 

Eventually, Josh also made his One Day International debut that year against England in Dublin. Josh marked his arrival to One Day cricket in some style as he went on to take 4 wickets on his debut. The 19-year-old Josh got the better of James Vince, Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan, and David Willey in that game. This was the start of something special for the young Irishmen. 

 

 

World Cup and Franchise Cricket

Josh went on to be a regular on the team sheet after that. He made another impression on the big stage during the qualifiers for the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup. However, Ireland failed to make it to the main stage of the competition. 

But the next edition of the tournament in the following year saw Josh make a name for himself in the tournament. He took a total of 11 wickets from 7 games with an economy rate of just 7. He had his big moment when he picked up a hat-trick against New Zealand in that tournament. He got the better of Kane Williamson, Jimmy Neesham, and Mitch Santner in the 19th over of the game. He was also the highest wicket-taker for his side. This was when cricket fans around the world were introduced to this prodigious talent. 

His impressive performance in the world event saw him get offers for franchise cricket. In the TATA IPL auction in 2023, Joshua Little was picked by the Titans. 

Ecstatic upon joining the team, he said in a Cricket Ireland statement, “I’m delighted to have been signed by the defending champions, the Gujarat Titans. I am also looking forward to working with coach Ashish Nehra and would like to thank the management team at the Titans for believing in me.”

Josh Bhai’s start in the 2024 IPL has been impressive. We hope to see more such fiery spells from him in the games to come. And seeing his previous performances, it seems like his engine is just warming up. 

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