They’re young and restless, brimming with ideas, courage, determination and passion. Being the best in their field of expertise is all they strive for, and failure is not a word present in their dictionary. Striving against the odds surpassing all obstacles and impediments, this cache of new age South Indians have made an indelible mark for themselves before they’ve hit the big 30. RITZ salutes the spirit of today’s new age achievers in the first of this multi-past series on the occasion of our 11th anniversary.
KL Rahul – 23 years
One of the new shining stars of Indian cricket, KL Rahul is also an integral part of the Karnataka State team and KPL. A tall, elegant right-hand batsman who can keep wickets in a crisis, KL Rahul is amongst the most highly rated batsmen in India’s next generation. With a century in Australia in only his second Test, Rahul has already earned a place for himself on the tour of Sri Lanka. Stylish and eloquent, the opening batsman can certainly hold his own, be it on or off the field.
Manish Pandey – 25 years
Manish Pandey, who just received his long overdue maiden ODI call-up, will always be remembered as the first Indian to score a century in the IPL. In one night, the 19-year-old went from being Karnataka’s next big Ranji hope to entering the record books as he hit his way to the highest Twenty20 score by an Indian. Pandey’s fearless and carefree batting mirrors his love for cars, bikes and speed.
Karun Nair – 23 years
Leading a life of near anonymity up until three months ago, Karun Nair was just another kid with driving ambition and big cricketing dreams. Today the Bengaluru boy has become a household name, all thanks to his stunning performance for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL. The shy Malayalee who plays for Karnataka is riding high on his new found success, but to his credit, he isn’t letting it get to his head.
Abhimanyu Mithun – 25 years
From concentrating on training in athletics and discus throw, Abhimanyu Mithun didn’t bowl with a leather ball until he was 17. Yet three years later, after a successful Ranji debut season in 2009-10, the fast bowler forced his way into the national squad for the Test series against South Africa. Since then he has been in and out of the national squad, often called up as replacements for injured players. He has the build for a quick bowler, honed at his fathers gym in Bengaluru. He is 6’ 2” tall, a height he uses to increase the effectiveness of his favourite weapon, the bouncer.
Vijay Abhimanyu – 27 years
Vijay brings to the table energy of a youngster, streamlined by maturity well beyond his age. A tireless entrepreneur, Vijay is driven by the ambition to make a difference in everything he does. Vijay is the young mind behind the Billion Smiles Hospitality venture. Billion Smiles is a fast growing hospitality chain with interests in the QSR, Casual Dining & Catering Space. Vijay has successfully created well respected brands like Southindies, bonSouth & UpSouth. He has been instrumental in realising the vision behind the venture.
Aditi Ashok – 17 years
Aditi Ashok, currently the leader of Indian Golf Union Ladies Order of Merit, has become one of the youngest women amateurs to win the prestigious 54-hole St Rule Trophy at St Andrews Links. She has a growing list of records to her credit including youngest winner of WGAI’s ladies professional tournament in 2011 at 13 years and 5 months of age. She has also equaled the women’s amateur course record of 8 under par on the New Course, St Andrews Links in May 2015 and set a course record of 8 under par at Karnataka Golf Association, Bengaluru in July 2015. Three time National Junior Champion for 2014, 2013 and 2012 and two time National Amateur Champion for 2014 and 2011, Aditi has won numerous national junior and amateur titles from the age of 10. Internationally she has an impressive tally of top 10 finishes and won 8 titles and has been playing for Team India since the age of 12.
Arjun Maini – 17 years
The weight of expectations sits lightly on Arjun Maini’s shoulders. The 17-year-old racer, who has a long list of incredible achievements in his fledgling career thus far, recently added another feather to his cap. Arjun gained a spot in Formula 3 – the first step towards competing in Formula 1 (F1). The Bengaluru teenager is four rounds into F3, and is currently in 13th place after recording points at Pau (France) and at the historic Monza circuit. Arjun is not keen on resting on his laurels. He is aware that there is some way to go before he achieves his ultimate goal – a driver’s spot in F1.