Ranji Trophy 2016-17 final: 5 players to watch out for
by Arya Author
Published - Jan 9, 2017 2:45 pm | Updated - Jan 9, 2017 2:45 pm
Ranji Trophy 2016-17 the 83rd season of the tournament has seen it’s fair shares of dramas and action but with a day to go for the final of the season, it will be appropriate to say that the initiative taken to host matches at neutral venues to curb down the home advantage allowed more sporting wickets to be prepared across the country.
Traditionally grounds like Rajkot, Mumbai and Chennai have been high scoring and batsmen have enjoyed spending time there. Lahli has perhaps been the toughest wickets for batsmen as the greenish surface offers enough assistance to the pacers to create a doubt in the batsman’s mind.
With less than 24 hours to go for the Ranji Trophy final to commence here we analyse 5 players from either side who might be the trump card for their team and help them lift the coveted title.
1. Abhishek Nayar (Mumbai)
Abhishek Nayar’s role in the team was quite evident during the semi-final against Tamil Nadu where the all-rounder not only picked a four-wicket haul but also scored a crucial half-century in the 1st innings to propel the Ranji giants to a first-innings lead. He has been a consistent performer both with the bat and the ball. In the quarter-final against Hyderabad Nayar finished with impressive match figures of 9/100 and chipped in with a half-century in the 1st essay.
The veteran has accumulated 462 runs in 9 matches with an average of 42. He also has a century to his name which came against Madhya Pradesh in the round robin stage. Besides being an impact player with the bat, he has been immensely successful with the ball in hand too and has bagged 21 wickets in 9 outings at an impressive average of 26.66. He has undoubtedly been a top-class performer for Mumbai and will play a vital role if the defending champions have to win the tournament for the 43rd time.
2. Prithvi Shaw (Mumbai)
The 17-year-old prodigy from Mumbai has hogged the limelight with his impressive performances at age group and junior level cricket. Having scored a brilliant century in his first-class debut against Tami Nadu in the semi-final, Prithvi Shaw will surely be a man to look out for once the much-anticipated final commence from tomorrow.
Shaw came into the limelight as a 13-year-old in 2013 when he established a new world record of 546 runs from 330 balls playing for his school Rizvi Springfield in a Harris Shield match. It was the highest individual score by a batsman in Indian school cricket until it was surpassed by Pranav Dhanwade on January 2016. Shaw’s 546 is currently the 4th highest individual score in any form of organised cricket.
He showed a lot of promise and maturity with his knock in the previous game and the opener would definitely have a lot to prove in the final as well.
3. Parthiv Patel (Gujarat)
The veteran southpaw from Gujarat is undoubtedly one of the best players from either team. The wicketkeeper-batsman missed some of the matches in the ongoing season due to his inclusion in the Indian team for the Test series against England where he looked pretty solid with the bat especially after being in the wings for 8 years. He was very fluent with his strokeplay and apart from a few rash shots here and there, Parthiv looked calm and composed in front of an impressive English bowling line-up.
In the ongoing tournament so far Parthiv has scored 476 runs in 6 matches at an average of 51. He has also struck 3 fifties and a solitary century in the ongoing season so far, with the highest score of 139* coming against Madhya Pradesh at Nagothane. He also chipped in with a fluent half-century in the 1st innings of the semi-final against Jharkhand.
4. Shreyas Iyer (Mumbai)
The right-handed batsman from Mumbai is definitely a class act and despite his inconsistent form in the ongoing season, he is bound to be an asset for the Mumbai team once they take the field against Gujarat from tomorrow. Shreyas Iyer made giant strides especially after his impressive performances in the IPL but failed to sustain his rich vein of form and no longer seems to be in contention for a national call-up.
He has played some magnificent knocks in the ongoing tournament but has low scores in between that have really hurt Mumbai on occasions. He has 2 centuries to his name in the ongoing season. Iyer will have fond memories of playing against Gujarat as the stylish right-hander struck a brilliant 194 in a league game.
In the semi-final against Tamil Nadu, he looked in good knick in both the innings but failed to convert a promising start into a big score. Given that he has tasted success against Gujarat, Iyer will undoubtedly be an important batsman to look out for in the final.
5. Priyank Panchal (Gujarat)
The 26-year-old Priyank Panchal has been in a prolific run-scoring form in the ongoing edition of the Ranji Trophy and has been leading the batting charts by a big margin. Panchal made his first-class debut for Gujarat way back in 2008 and has become the most reliable opener for them. Though he couldn’t score the big runs in the initial phase of his career but slowly and steadily he started evolving as a matured batsman and started making runs against top class teams.
Panchal became the first batsman from Gujarat to score a triple century in first-class cricket when he struck a magnificent unbeaten 314 against Punjab at Belgavi. It was a stupendous innings from a terrific opener as he tormented the Punjab bowling line-up throughout his dominating innings.
The stylish right-hander made his presence felt in the semi-final against Jharkhand where he scored a terrific 149 to set the platform for a dramatic come from behind victory by Gujarat. Besides his batting skills, Panchal is also a part-time medium pacer and has scalped 14 wickets in his first-class career so far.