Vijay Hazare Trophy 2020-21: Best XI of the tournament
While every player tried to perform to the best of their ability, there were obviously a few players who stood out from the rest and made the most of the platform to try and establish themselves.
While all the focus has been on England’s tour of India and the IPL that is set to start on the 9th of April, the BCCI also ensured the smooth conduct of the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Despite the challenging times, they managed to conduct the tournament without much hassle and gave domestic cricketers a chance to prove themselves as usual.
The 50-over tournament was won by domestic giants, Mumbai for the 4th time in their history while Uttar Pradesh finished 2nd. Mumbai managed to win the trophy without suffering a single defeat at any stage of the tournament and bounced back in style after a poor performance in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy prior to this.
There were several scintillating performances including double hundreds and 7-wicket hauls. While every player tried to perform to the best of their ability, there were obviously a few players who stood out from the rest and made the most of the platform to try and establish themselves.
On that note, here’s a look at the best XI from the country’s premier 50-over tournament:
1. Prithvi Shaw
After going through a rough patch of form for a few months which began during the latter half of the IPL, Prithvi Shaw has proved his critics wrong with a sensational campaign in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He scored a record 827 runs in 8 games at an average of 165.4 while striking at 138.29. The 21-year-old scored four hundreds including a record-breaking 227* against Puducherry. His form was the main reason behind Mumbai’s victory, and he would want to continue this form into the IPL as well.
2. Devdutt Padikkal
Another young Indian opener who was brilliant in the tournament, Devdutt Padikkal has done no harm to his reputation. He has been in magnificent form for the last 18 months, and has shot himself into national contention. The elegant left-handed batsmen scored 737 runs in 7 games at an average of 147.4 and scored at a strike-rate of 95.96. The Karnataka player managed to cross the 50-run mark in each of his seven innings as he scored 4 centuries and 3 half-centuries.
3. Ravikumar Samarth
The 2nd half of Karnataka’s brilliant opening partnership, Ravikumar Samarth’s performances went under the radar due to the fact that Padikkal scored more runs. The 28-year-old has always been an excellent player in List A games as is evidenced by his career average of 53.96. The Karnataka skipper scored 613 runs in 7 games at an average of 122.6 and his strike rate was in excess of 100. He even got close to a double hundred when he was dismissed for 192 against Kerala, and he surely deserves a callup to the India A team in the near future.
4. Nitish Rana
Nitish Rana is quite well known to most Indian cricket fans as he has been an IPL regular for 4 seasons. The 27-year-old was one of Delhi’s most important players as they reached the quarter-finals. He scored 398 runs in 7 matches at a strike rate of 97.98 while averaging 66.33. He even chipped in with a couple of wickets, and KKR will hope that he can play with similar consistency during the 14th edition of the IPL.
5. Akshdeep Nath
Akshdeep Nath has been on the scene for quite some time now and has even played a few games in the IPL. He was Uttar Pradesh’s best batsman and his consistency helped them reach the final before losing to Mumbai. Even in the final, he played quite well as he scored 55 in 40 deliveries. In general, he scored 387 runs in 8 games at an average of 55.28 and his strike rate of 91.7. His tally of five half-centuries was impressive, and he also contributed with 3 wickets.
6. Krunal Pandya
The 29-year-old had to do something special to get back into national contention after a poor IPL and he did just that during the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He was in sublime form with the bat as he scored 388 runs in just 5 games. His average of 129.33 and strike rate of 117.93 also make for good reading. The Mumbai Indians all-rounder also picked up 5 wickets while conceding at 5.31 and he will look to take this form into the IPL as he looks to stake a claim for a place in the Indian team ahead of the T20I World Cup.
7. Rishi Dhawan
Not many might be aware of this, but Rishi Dhawan is an India international and had a brief stint with the team during 2016 when India was searching for a pace-bowling all-rounder. However, Hardik Pandya’s rise made it difficult for him and he hasn’t been called up since then. Coming to how he fared during the tournament, he did quite well as he played 5 games and scalped 16 wickets at a strike rate of 14.5 while maintaining an economy rate of 5.45. Rishi also scored 150 runs at a strike rate of over 90 and will occupy the 7th spot on this XI.
8. Shivam Sharma
The 20-year-old didn’t fail to impress in his first senior domestic tournament as he was arguably Uttar Pradesh’s most important player and played a key role in their 2nd placed finish. He picked up 21 wickets in 8 games while conceding at just 4.6. His bowling strike rate of 22 was also impressive. The debutant picked up two 5-wicket hauls including a brilliant 7/31 against Bihar, and if he continues to deliver such performances, we will see a lot more of him in the future.
9. Arzan Nagwaswalla
The Gujarat bowler has done no harm to his rising reputation in domestic cricket with yet another impressive campaign in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He ended the tournament as the 2nd highest wicket-taker. The left-arm pacer picked up 19 wickets in 7 games at a strike rate of 19.3 and his economy rate was under 4.5. His team won every match in which he picked up a wicket and the only time he failed to do so, they lost the match, showing his importance.
10. Dhawal Kulkarni
After a poor outing in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the veteran pacer proved that it was just a minor blip as he bounced back with a terrific showing in the 50-over tournament. The medium pacer’s ability to swing the ball and keep things tight while also picking up wickets was very important for Mumbai. The 32-year-old picked up 14 wickets in 6 games at a strike rate of 19 while maintaining an economy of just 3.72. He also bowled 10 maiden overs.
11. Prashant Solanki
Like Shivam Sharma, this tournament was a debut for Prashant Solanki and he had an impressive start to his cricketing journey. With 15 wickets in 6 games, he was the 4th highest wicket-taker and lifting a trophy on his very first attempt would have been a great feeling. Although he was a bit expensive as he conceded at 6.19, he made up for it by picking up wickets as he picked up a wicket every 20.8 balls on average.