Ranji Trophy 2019-20 culminated last week with Saurashtra emerging as the new winners of the competition. The Jaydev Unadkat-led side defeated Bengal on the virtue of their first innings lead. Big names like Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha took part in this year’s final as the most prestigious domestic competition of Indian cricket came to an end.
Over the years, several big names have broken into the international arena because of their splendid performances in Ranji Trophy. The current Indian stars namely Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Prithvi Shaw, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and many others owe their success to Ranji Trophy. This year, the fans witnessed the rise of several new stars and here is a list of the top 5 players who could earn a national call-up because of their good performance in Ranji Trophy 2019-20.
1. Srikar Bharat
Deemed by many as the premier Indian wicket-keeper batsman in the domestic arena, Srikar Bharat impressed a lot while playing for Andhra in 2019-20 Ranji Trophy. Even though his team could not reach the semifinal round, he performed his job to perfection. He ended Ranji Trophy 2019-20 as the most successful wicketkeeper.
Bharat executed 37 dismissals behind the stumps at an average of 2.85 dismissals/innings. He kicked off his Ranji Trophy campaign with an unbeaten century against Vidarbha and he continued his fine form throughout the tournament.
As Wriddhiman Saha is not the team’s first-choice keeper outside India and Rishabh Pant has failed to capitalize on the opportunities he received, Srikar Bharat could soon break into the national team.
2. Jaydev Unadkat
The skipper of the champions Saurashtra team, Jaydev Unadkat silenced all of his critics with a brilliant performance in Ranji Trophy 2019-20. The left-arm pace bowler ended the season as the highest wicket-taker from all teams and he narrowly missed out on the all-time record of Ranji Trophy. He featured in all matches for Saurashtra and led his team from the front.
Unadkat’s best performance of the season came against Baroda where he picked up 12 wickets in 2 innings. He had figures of 6/34 in the first innings and in the second innings, he returned with figures of 6/72.
Besides, his 7/56 in the final innings of the semifinal game against Gujarat played a crucial role in Saurashtra’s journey to the title. Parthiv Patel was batting well in the middle but Unadkat’s seven wicket-haul ensured Saurashtra beat the table-toppers. As India needs a left-arm fast bowler, he could return to international cricket soon.
3. Sarfaraz Khan
The batsman with the highest batting average in Ranji Trophy 2019-20, Sarfaraz Khan emerged as one of the most improved players in this season. Khan began his campaign with an unbeaten innings of 71 runs against Karnataka. He failed to score big against Tamil Nadu but he shattered multiple records with a superb innings of 301* against Uttar Pradesh.
He followed it up with an unbeaten double century versus Himachal Pradesh and at one moment it seemed like no bowler in the world could dismiss Sarfaraz. The right-handed batsman scored another century in his team’s final match against Madhya Pradesh.
The former Royal Challengers Bangalore player is set to play for Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2020 and if he has a great IPL season then he can soon earn a national call-up. Besides, the Indian Test team’s middle-order needs a new batsman and Khan is a worthy candidate for that spot.
4. Abdul Samad
The big-hitter from Jammu and Kashmir, Abdul Samad stole the show in this edition of Ranji Trophy with his towering sixes. No other batsman could hit even 30 sixes in this competition while Abdul slammed 37 maximums to earn the record of most sixes in Ranji Trophy 2019-20. In case you did not know, Abdul is a part of Sunrisers Hyderabad squad in IPL 2020.
Veteran Indian all-rounder, Irfan Pathan has played a huge role in his success and Samad showcased his talent with some fine performances in this tournament. Surprisingly, the 18-year-old player did not feature in the India U-19 squad for the U-19 World Cup.
Samad showed no relent to the bowlers of Assam as he registered a 73-ball century against them. He repeated the same performance against Jharkhand as he hit 11 sixes in his innings of 128 runs. As he bowls leg break as well, he can earn a national call-up in the near future.
5. Ishan Porel
The 21-year-old fast bowler from Bengal, Ishan Porel led his team’s pace attack magnificently in Ranji Trophy 2019-20. As he was a part of India A squad that toured New Zealand during the course of Ranji Trophy, he missed a few games for Bengal. But still, he was one of the top performers his side, playing a match-winning role for them in the semifinal versus Karnataka.
Porel had earlier picked up a four wicket-haul each in the match against Gujarat and Andhra whereas he scalped 7 wickets in the high-pressure encounter against Karnataka.
Since a lot of Indian pacers are struggling with their form and fitness, the Indian selectors could try Ishan Porel as an option for India. He has the pace and accuracy to fit into the national side. Thus, these are the five top performers of Ranji Trophy 2019-20 who can earn a national call-up soon.
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