Ranji Trophy 2017-18 – Best XI of the tournament
Not just the youngsters, but also some senior players like Mayank Agarwal, Faiz Fazal, and Ashok Dinda had a memorable campaign.
Published - Jan 2, 2018 10:28 pm | Updated - Jan 2, 2018 10:36 pm
Another fascinating edition of the Ranji Trophy came to a close with Vidarbha clinching the honors for the first time in their history. This was a result no one saw coming at the start of the tournament and a fact that they worked wonderfully together helped them beat some top sides like Bengal, Karnataka, and Delhi (in the final).
Just the way it happens every year, the Ranji Trophy has managed to bring more youngsters to the spotlight. Some relatively unknown names like Rajneesh Gurbani, Anmolpreet Singh or Akshay Wakhare are now household names. Most of these players have taken the opportunity with both their hands and here they are, with the IPL auction coming ahead. All of them will have their heart in their mouth till the auction commences on 27th and 28th January.
Not just the youngsters, but also some senior players like Mayank Agarwal, Faiz Fazal, and Ashok Dinda had a memorable campaign. Barring Mayank Agarwal, the other two players have already played for India and their chances of making it to the Indian side in the future did escalate by a little margin. As the tournament has culminated, let’s take a look at the best XI of the tournament.
1. Mayank Agarwal
The highest run-scorer of the tournament, Mayank Agarwal made a statement of intent this season. He also notched a triple century against Maharashtra, which is always a great addition to one’s CV. The dashing opener has impressed previously in the IPL, but it wasn’t good enough to get noticed by the masses. He dispatched the bowlers to all corners this time around and clobbered 1,160 runs in 8 matches at an average of 105.45.
2. Faiz Fazal (Captain)
When you lead a side termed as the “Dark Horses” to something as brilliant as this, you know the individual is quite a presence in the dressing room. Take a bow Faiz Fazal for scripting one of the most exciting and enthralling stories in Ranji Trophy history and the way he marshalled his troops all the way was incredible. Talk about the skipper leading from the front, he finished as the second highest run-scorer with 912 runs. Clearly, he’s the undisputed leader of this side.
3. Anmolpreet Singh
I cannot recollect a 19-year-old teenager registering two scores of 250 or more in one single campaign. Anmolpreet Singh was one of the few shining blocks for the Punjab side, who didn’t play very attractively as a unit. But this youngster managed to grab a lot of attention and whenever we see a teenager do such extravagant stuff, the spotlight automatically shifts towards him. He scored 753 runs in the tournament at an average of 125.50.
4. Hanuma Vihari
Hanuma Vihari has benefited a lot ever since he chose to move from Hyderabad to Andhra. He’s currently leading the side and had a tremendous season. Scoring 752 runs at an impressive average of 94, he’s the fifth highest run-scorer of the tournament and that is quite an achievement. Vihari has played for the Deccan Chargers and the Sunrisers Hyderabad previously in the IPL and he’s likely to get another contract on the back of this wonderful rendition.
5. Sanju Samson (wk)
A rather familiar name when compared to the names mentioned above, Sanju Samson is already a star in the country. For the first time in Kerala’s Ranji Trophy history, they entered the knockout phase and this man had a very crucial role to play in that journey. Samson scored 627 runs this season and played a couple of match-winning knocks under difficult circumstances.
6. Harpreet Singh
The southpaw from Madhya Pradesh, Harpreet Singh had a wonderful campaign this time around. The 26-year-old worked hard for years to reap this kind of a result and he would be hoping to earn an IPL contract towards the end of this month. Despite coming in at number 5, he scored 629 runs at an average of 69.89, which indeed is significant for someone who doesn’t bat at the top.
7. Jalaj Saxena
One of the best performers of Madhya Pradesh in the last few years, Jalaj Saxena finished as the highest-wicket taker this season. The off-break bowler bamboozled a lot of batsmen throughout the tournament. With 44 wickets in 7 games, the IPL scouts must’ve already sent a message to their franchises about him. With the bat, the 31-year-old is always a dependable bloke and henceforth, he gets a cut into the side as the all-rounder.
8. Akshay Wakhare
One of the crucial contributors for Vidarbha in their title-winning campaign, Akshay Wakhare has been splendid this season. The 32-year-old senior pro compliments his young companions brilliantly and picked up 34 wickets this season. His crucial 4-fer on the fourth day helped them finish the final with a day left. He is clearly an inevitable addition to this side.
9. Rajneesh Gurbani
The man who stole more spotlight than anyone else this season, Rajneesh Gurbani was at the heart of Vidarbha’s triumph. 12 wickets in the semifinal and 8 wickets in the final, clearly, this bloke is tailor-made for big games. He struggled to find his lines in the last two seasons, but what a way to bounce back. Of all the players who came into the spotlight for the first time this season, this lad is definitely going to get an IPL contract.
10. Ashok Dinda
Ashok Dinda is nowhere in contention to regain a place in the Indian side, but this is a good way to knock the selectors’ doors. The 33-year-old fast bowler from Bengal had one of the best Ranji seasons of his career, picking up 35 wickets in 8 matches. By doing so, he remained third in the list of highest wicket-takers this season. He was also in danger of getting unnoticed by IPL franchises, which might not happen after this rendition.
11. Navdeep Saini
It would’ve been very unfair to not have anyone from the Delhi side in this list. But that’s not the reason why Navdeep Saini makes a cut. After getting a call from the Indian side to travel with them to South Africa to help the players in the nets, he rejected the proposal on Gautam Gambhir’s word. He eventually picked up the man of the match in the semifinal and also returned with 34 wickets in the season, most amongst the Delhi bowlers.