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Ranji Trophy: No Parvez Rasool in TOI Team of the competition

CricketRanji Trophy: No Parvez Rasool in TOI Team of the competition


First Selector’s, then ESPNCricinfo.com and now Times of India have left out star cricketer of the Kashmir Parvez Rasool from the team  of the Ranji competition.

With the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy having ended with Gujarat lifting the title for the first time, here’s a look at the 12 most valuable cricketers from the season. Runs scored and wickets taken were the prime consideration, but with a focus on match situations and conditions, contribution to outright wins and draws with three points, and above all whether performances helped teams into the knockouts. The one exception was the exciting young Delhi wicketkeeper-batsman Risabh Pant, whose attacking batting was irresistible and helped him into India’s T20I squad.

1 Abhinav Mukund (Tamil Nadu) – M 10 I 14 Runs 849 Avg 65.30 HS 154 100×4 50×3

Mukund, the captain of Tamil Nadu, did not have a good word to say about the neutral venue format following his team’s loss to Mumbai in the semi-finals, but his batting could give him a degree of satisfaction. Mukund was TN’s top run-getter and one of four batsmen across the competition to score four centuries (he was out for 99 too). Of his hundreds, 100 came in the second innings against Railways which helped set up victory; 154 came in the next match to prop up TN after Uttar Pradesh racked up 524; following a duck against Madhya Pradesh, Mukund scored 100 out of TN’s 337, a vital knock in an innings victory over Baroda; and 122 came in the semi-final as TN tried to set Mumbai a target they could defend. That was Mukund’s 36th first-class century.

2 Priyank Panchal (Gujarat) – M 10 I 17 Runs 1310 Avg 87.33 HS 313* 100×5 50×4

The most runs and centuries (five) in any Ranji season by a Gujarat batsman. The first triple-centurion from Gujarat. A Ranji Trophy winner. Gujarat’s progression to their second final ever was fashioned largely around their batsmen, of whom 26-year-old opener Panchal was the most dominant. No batsman across the tournament scored more runs and no one score more than his five centuries, which was also a first for a Gujarat batsman in any season of the Ranji Trophy. Panchal was busiest during the second half of the season, when he scored 232, 56*, 314* and 113 in three successive matches, but crucially he did not fade away in the business end. Gujarat took three points off Mumbai, with Panchal making 232 out of a total of 437, 314* out of 624/6 against Punjab and 113 out of 307 against Tamil Nadu.

In the quarter-final with Odisha, Panchal’s second-innings 81 set Gujarat on the way to a massive 641 and then in the semi-final versus Jharkhand, his 149 was more than a large slice of their first-innings total of 390 (only Parthiv Patel passed 50) and proved a factor in victory. Sixties against Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh also contributed to the team’s success, of which Panchal rates the 62 versus MP highly for it came on a seaming surface in Nagothane and against good bowlers.

3 Kaushik Gandhi (Tamil Nadu) – M 10 I 15 Runs 785 Avg 60.38 HS 202 100×2 50×5

In his fourth and longest season of first-class cricket – he debuted in 2011 and played two games each in 2014 and 2015 – the 26-year-old was second in Tamil Nadu’s run charts. Gandhi’s first three matches produced 89 runs before the turning point came against MP in Cuttack. Tamil Nadu were 1/2 in the second over, and later 54/3 in the 16th, but Gandhi’s 157 repaired the damage and put them on the way to 555/7 declared. Scores of 65, 164 and 202 followed – each in draws from which nine points were gained – as the team finished third in Group B and made the knockouts. After failing in the quarter-finals, Gandhi steadied TN with 50 in their first innings against Mumbai and was demoted to No 6 in the second, hitting nine not out. More batsmen scored more runs, but Gandhi stood out for his role in taking TN into the knockouts.

4 Parthiv Patel (Gujarat) – M 8 I 14 Runs 763 Avg 58.69 HS 143 100×2 50x 5 30 dismissals


Captained Gujarat astutely into their second final (the first was in 1950-51) and to the title, having two miss two matches when recalled to India’s Test team. Scored very fine runs, none better than in the final with 90 and 143. Had 29 catches and a stumping. Performed in wins, most importantly. Top-scored with 61 out of a first-innings 187 against Railways, added 53 in the second; 60 off 70 balls against UP; 62 in the first innings of the semi-final; and then those two match-winning knocks in the final. There was also 139* in the second innings of the draw with MP in Nagothane, which took the match away from the opposition. Beyond the batting, however, was Parthiv’s role as the leader and driving force for Gujarat.

5 Ishank Jaggi (Jharkhand) – M 10 I 16 Runs 890 Avg 59.33 HS 173 100×4 50×3

The 27-year-old finished as his team’s leading scorer, just ahead of Ishan Kishan’s 799, the best for any season by a Jharkhand batsman. Jharkhand had six outright wins en route to the semi-finals for the first time, and Jaggi was a factor in four of these with 534 of his overall 890 runs contributing to victory. Against Rajasthan, he made 49 and 100; against Saurashtra, 173 off 209 balls; against Assam, 93 and 34 off 15 balls; and against Haryana in the quarters, 77 in the decisive first innings. In the semi-final, Jaggi’s 129 carried Jharkhand from 8/1, 52/3 and 89/3 to 393/8 until he was out, with a three-run lead over Gujarat’s 390. However, he was out for 1 in a damning collapse at the hands of Jasprit Bumrah as Jharkhand were all out for 111 to exit the competition. There was also a crucial unbeaten 112 out of a total of 362/8 that delivered three points against Vidarbha. Overall, this was a player who was consistent and impactful while carrying the mantle of being Jharkhand’s main batsman.

6 Rishabh Pant (Delhi) – M 8 I 12 Runs 972 Avg 81 SR 107.28 HS 308 100×4 50×2

In his breakthrough season, the 19-year-old clubbed his way up the run charts and into the record books, hitting the fastest hundred by an Indian batsman in first-class cricket. The milestone came against Jharkhand in Trivandrum, when in the second innings – he made 117 off 106 in the first – Pant needed just 48 balls to get another hundred. He was eventually out for 135 off 67 balls, his fourth hundred of the competition following 146 versus Assam and 308 off 326 balls against Maharashtra. That triple came in Pant’s second match, and helped Delhi secure a draw after Maharashtra racked up 635/2. The next best? Dhruv Shorey’s 71. Pant’s season strike-rate is an alarming 107.28, further evidence of his talent.

7 Abhishek Nayar (Mumbai) – M 10 I 16 Runs 588 Avg 45.23 HS 103* W 25 Avg 27.68 BBI 5/40

The most influential allrounder this season. Finished as Mumbai’s fourth-highest run-getter and second-highest wicket-taker to underline once again his value. Nayar’s knack for big wickets was heavily influential, as evidenced by 16 wickets of batsmen from Nos 1-6, including five openers and four one-downs.

The team’s opening win over Tamil Nadu in Lahli owed crucially to his unbeaten 45 off 56 balls on a seaming surface, with a target of 97 achieved for the loss of eight wickets. In reply to Madhya Pradesh’s 445 in Raipur, Mumbai had been 368/7 before Nayar hit an unbeaten 103 and put on 200 with Siddhesh Lad, thus securing three points. In the win over UP, his 39 in the second innings helped turn a tiny lead into a big one while helping a recovery from 79/4. Against Bengal, in the face of a target of 308, Mumbai had slipped to 67/5 before Nayar scored 51 to help them towards a draw that earned them three points.

In the quarters, Nayar helped Mumbai beat Hyderabad by 30 runs by with a stellar all-round show, taking 5/40 on the final day, having earlier contributed 59 and 4/60. For this, he was voted Man of the Match. In the semis, he took four wickets to pull back Tamil Nadu to 305, and then in Mumbai’s first innings made a smooth 58 to help smooth over the loss of three wickets for three runs, thus giving the lower order impetus to attain a lead of 101. In the final, Nayar’s 35 in Mumbai’s first innings helped add 49 with the tail and then his 91 in the second propped up the score to 411.

8 Rush Kalaria (Gujarat) – M 10 W 28 Avg 26.14 SR 61 BBI 4/41 Runs 315 Avg 28.65 2×50

The left-arm seamer has been singled out by Parthiv for several seasons, and this year was at the forefront of Gujarat’s passage to the knockouts. After a wicketless start, Kalaria was consistent even though he didn’t manage a single five-wicket innings haul: five in a 294-run win over Railways, four in victory over UP, seven in a draw with MP, a critical 4/41 to seal three points against Punjab, and then two crucial wickets in the quarters as Gujarat squeaked ahead. Took two big wickets in the final, and scored a vital 27. His lower-order batting was indeed handy, as scores of 73, 60*, 43 and 28 (twice) underline.

9  Shahbaz Nadeem(Jharkhand) – M 10 W 56 Avg 25.60 SR 52.9 BBI 7/74

One of domestic cricket’s untiring and unsung bowlers had another stupendous year. Finished the season as the leading wicket-taker, having taken 51 at 19.62 apiece last year. Featured significantly in four of Jharkhand’s five league stage victories, taking four wickets against Maharashtra, 12 against Rajasthan, five versus Saurashtra and seven against Odisha. In the quarter-final against Haryana in Vadodara, Nadeem was Man of the Match for his 11 wickets and a crucial 34 down the order. After the win, which put Jharkhand into the semis for the first time, skipper Saurabh Tiwary singled out the team’s “one-man bowling army”. In the semi-final, after Jharkhand took a slender lead over Gujarat, Nadeem triggered a mini-collapse on day three with three top-order wickets in the space of 19 deliveries. Finished with 5/69, leaving Jharkhand 235 for a spot in the final, but a total batting meltdown ended their memorable season on a whimper. Nadeem contributed with the bat too, with 205 runs at 17.08.

10 K Gowtham (Karnataka) – M 8 W 27 Avg 19.51 SR 44.8 BBI 7/108

Back in Karnataka’s squad after three seasons, the offspinner claimed 27 wickets in eight matches, including a career-best 7/108 in a bonus-point win over Assam. Gowtham immediately made an impact when given a chance because of injuries to others, first taking three wickets to secure three points against Jharkhand and then eight in a Man-of-the-Match performance as Delhi were beaten by an innings. Then came the aforementioned seven versus Assam to push Karnataka to the top of Group A. Gowtham’s lower-order batting was also handy (he averaged 25.42), particularly in the win over Vidarbha in which he hit 60* and 22. His success helped Karnataka into the quarter-finals, where they were hammered by Tamil Nadu.

11 Jasprit Bumrah (Gujarat) – M 7 24 Avg 21.75 SR 53.4 BBI 6/29
Subtract his wickets and Gujarat would not have reached their first final in 66 years. Bumrah missed the first four matches while on India duty, but once back in the side he proved instrumental to Gujarat’s push to the summit – and there was no better performance than in the semis when the ground was pulled from under Jharkhand’s feet. In the build-up to that career-best effort, Bumrah’s key contributions were just two, but they were massive: 6/71 to grab a lead of 15 runs over Mumbai in a high-scoring draw on a lifeless Hubli surface, which gave Gujarat three vital points, and 5/41 in 23 overs to help take the lead over Odisha in the quarter-final, which ensured Gujarat progressed further. In isolation, these two performances were catalysts for a team that had not really been put under much pressure all season (and both times fetched him the Man-of-the-Match award). Then came that excellent spell on day four of the semi-final, when Jharkhand, set a target of 235 with a day to spare, went hurtling to 111 all out. For the third time in Gujarat’s spirited campaign, Bumrah was adjudged Man of the Match. That also meant the end of his Ranji season, for India’s first ODI against England began a day after the final.

12th man: K Vignesh (Tamil Nadu) – M 9 W 37 Avg 22.10 SR 47.8 BBI 5/23

In his first season of Ranji Trophy cricket, the 22-year-old medium-pacer was Tamil Nadu’s leading bowler with 37 wickets (Aswin Crist was next with 35 at 27.60 apiece). This form helped propel the team into the knockouts, where they eliminated Karnataka inside two days with Vignesh taking four second-innings wickets as the opposition slipped from 74/1 to 112/7. Vignesh made his first-class debut against Mumbai in seam-friendly Lahli, taking nine wickets as TN came within two wickets of victory – the first bowler from the state to take five on debut in a decade – and never looked back. Eight wickets followed in an innings win over Baroda, four helped set up an innings lead over Bengal, as did four more versus Punjab. Ended the season wicketless in Tamil Nadu’s loss to Mumbai in the semis, but that did nothing to take the gloss off a very fine season for Vignesh.

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