Year round up – India Domestic XI of 2016
Updated - Dec 27, 2016 12:00 pm
It is often the international stars who take all the limelight in the game of cricket. Very rarely do the Indian domestic players get to be in the big frame of the picture. The year of 2016 saw the stars of the game make records at the international stage. At the same time, there was the breeding ground of international cricket – the domestic circuit – that was getting the players fit for the biggest level.
A plethora of stunning performances in the domestic circuit saw some players break through to the national side. Some did not get the lucky break yet have managed to be on the fringes of it. Records tumbled in the domestic arena. Triple centuries were scored in the Ranji Trophy this season and double centuries came at will.
A record stand between Swapnil Gugale and Ankeet Bawne of Maharashtra caught the eyes of all. Delhi’s Rishabh Pant rose to prominence with his consistent batting. A clinical Karnataka side saw all players chip in with crucial contributions in the season. The performers have been many. Here we pick the Best India Domestic XI of 2016, a list full of emerging stars of Indian cricket:
1. Priyank Panchal
Gujarat batsman Priyank Panchal is just 26 but is still a domestic veteran. He made the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy season his own with consistent batting. Panchal emerged as the leading run-getter of the season at the conclusion of the league stage. He amassed 1037 runs in just 7 matches at a staggering average of 115.22. He struck 4 tons and 3 fifties in the league matches and was the key to Gujarat’s claim for the playoffs berth.
He started off with a gritty 101 against Railways this season. As the tournament progressed, his scores got bigger and better. He backed up his 232 against Mumbai with an unbeaten 56 in the same match. A match later, he found himself scoring a majestic unbeaten 314 against Punjab. His fourth ton of the season came against Tamil Nadu in the last league game.
2. Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir is a household name in Indian cricket. Despite not being a regular name in the Indian team now, Gambhir managed to consistently score heavy runs in the domestic circuit. The southpaw started off the splendid 2016 season with prolific performances in the IPL. He scored over 500 runs in the IPL 2016 and was one of the top five run-getters. His best was yet to come. He translated the good shorter format form to the longer format run.
He was one of the most successful batsmen in the Duleep Trophy. Leading India Blue, Gambhir aggregated 356 runs in 3 matches with 4 fifties to his name. Such was his consistency that he average over 71. Owing to his stellar Duleep Trophy show, he was recalled in the Indian Test team for the New Zealand and England series.
3. Ishank Jaggi
Team Jharkhand made giant strides in the Ranji Trophy this season. One man was key to their stunning rise in the premier domestic tournament. Middle-order batsman Ishank Jaggi was in sublime form throughout the season. The 65 first-class matches veteran was the leading run-getter for his side en route to the quarter-finals.
At the conclusion of the league stage, Ishank had scored 675 runs in 8 matches at an average of 61.36 with 3 centuries and 2 fifties. His top score of 173 came against Saurashtra. Earlier, he had a decent outing in the other domestic fixtures as well. Ishank, who has a domestic T20 century to his name, managed to switch across the formats pretty conveniently.
4. Rishabh Pant
If there was a star of the season, then it has to be Rishabh Pant. The swashbuckling Delhi batsman was on a rampage. He rose up the ranks with impressive performances at the U19 level. He struck the fastest fifty at the age group earlier this year. That helped him seal a spot in the Delhi Ranji squad. What followed was sheer entertainment. In the 8 matches that he played this season for Delhi, he scored 972 runs at an average of 81.
He hit 4 centuries and 2 fifties for Delhi that included a triple century. He scored a brisk triple ton against Maharashtra. He followed it up by scoring the fastest century in Ranji Trophy history. He hit 49 sixes in the tournament – the most by any batsman. The second in that list is Himachal Pradesh’s P Chopra with 19 sixes to his name. The difference between the numbers speaks volumes about Pant’s dominion.
5. Sheldon Jackson
Over the years, Saurashtra’s middle-order mainstay Sheldon Jackson has managed to make a name for himself. The 30-year-old has been constantly getting runs for his side. In the Ranji Trophy this season, he scored two centuries and was consistent throughout. He scored 105 and 116 against Maharashtra and Vidarbha respectively to be amongst the runs.
Prior to that, Jackson had a phenomenal Duleep Trophy. He finished as the third leading run-scorer of the tournament with 368 runs in 3 matches at an average of 122.66. Playing for the India Blue, he hit two crucial centuries in the tournament. Also, he hit the most number of sixes too – a total of 12 in number.
6. Deepak Hooda
Deepak Hooda emerged as the big-hitting batsman in the Indian domestic circuit. He cashed in on the opportunities he got in the IPL for Rajasthan Royals and the Sunrisers Hyderabad. This year, he showed he can be a domestic giant in the longer format too. Playing for Baroda in the Ranji Trophy, he accounted for 789 runs in 8 matches.
Hooda averaged 71.72 and played with an uncharacteristic strike rate of under 70. The striking feature was his desire to play long innings. He hit 3 centuries this season that included a top score of unbeaten 293. He had 3 fifties to go with his three tons.
7. Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav is not a new name for the cricket critics. The chinaman came into limelight with his U19 performances and then catapulted his reputation in the IPL. He had a stunning 2016 in the domestic circuit. Yadav was the leading wicket taker in the Duleep Trophy this year. He scalped 17 wickets in 3 matches with a best of 6/88 for India Red.
He continued his good run in the Ranji Trophy as well. He bagged 35 wickets in 8 matches for Uttar Pradesh. He had two five-wicket hauls in the series with a best of 6/79. He improved upon his batting as well. In the Ranji Trophy this season, he came up with gutsy batting down the order when UP needed him.
8. Parvez Rasool
Jammu and Kashmir skipper Parvez Rasool almost singlehandedly rallied along for his side in the Ranji Trophy this year. Rasool bagged 38 wickets in 9 matches with two five-wicket hauls this season. He had the best economy rate among the top 6 bowlers at the conclusion of the league stage. He was the lone ranger for J & K with the bat too.
He hit 7 fifties this season. This included his twin fifties in the last league game against Chhattisgarh. He missed out on a well-deserved century in the last innings as he was dismissed on 92. A century would have perfectly capped off his sensational 2016 in the domestic circuit.
9. Pankaj Singh
Veteran pace bowler Pankaj Singh has been one of the most consistent performers in Indian domestic cricket. The Rajasthan skipper gave his best yet again in the league stages of the Ranji Trophy this year. He finished as the second leading wicket-taker with 41 wickets to his name in 8 matches.
He had a miserly economy rate of 3.38 to go with the bowling average of 22.07. Pankaj scalped two five-wicket hauls and that included the best of 5/39. It was only a shame that despite his efforts, Rajasthan could not make a statement in this edition of the premier domestic tournament of India.
10. Anupam Sanklecha
Maharashtra had a disappointing season this year in Ranji Trophy. However, their 34-year-old pacer made a startling impact on the season. Anupam Sanklecha emerged as the leading wicket-taker in the league stage this year. He bagged 43 wickets in 8 matches with a staggering 5 five-wicket hauls and two 10-wicket hauls. He had the best economy among the top pacers with 2.68.
He averaged an impressive 16.18 – the best among the top 10 bowlers in the season. His strike rate of 36.1 was also the most impressive. His best figures of 8/73 came against Assam. However, the most impressive performance came against Vidarbha where he bagged 7/25 and 7/69 in the two innings.
11. Ashok Dinda
Veteran pacer Ashok Dinda has been an out-of-favor India candidate. However, he has continued to impress in the domestic arena this year as well. Playing for the India Green in the Duleep Trophy, he bagged 5 wickets in 2 matches – the most by a pacer in his side. In the Ranji Trophy, he was influential for his team Bengal.
In the 7 matches that he played this season, he scalped 39 wickets – the fourth in the list of leading wicket-takers. Dinda had five 5-wicket hauls to his name with the best of 6/45. He averaged an impressive 19.53 with the ball. He surely was one of the key performers in domestic circuit this year.