Some players are constantly knocking on selectors’ doors with their performances at the Ranji Trophy 2022.
The Ranji Trophy (also known as Paytm Ranji Trophy for sponsorship reasons) is a domestic first-class cricket championship played in India between multiple teams representing regional and state cricket associations. The competition currently consists of 38 teams, with all 28 states in India and four of the eight union territories having at least one representation. The competition is named after the first Indian cricketer who played international cricket, Ranjitsinhji, who was also known as ‘Ranji’.
The 87th edition of the Ranji Trophy concluded with Madhya Pradesh created history to clinch their first Ranji Trophy title after defeating 41-time champions Mumbai by six wickets at M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Meanwhile, some young cricketers have impressed everyone with their brilliant performances and are aiming for a chance to play test cricket for India.
Each season of the Ranji Trophy is presented as an opportunity for young talent to make a strong case for the selectors with their performances. Also this year, several players knocked on the selectors’ doors with their performances at the 2022 Ranji Trophy. Some of them could have the opportunity to serve for the national team in white.
These are the five Ranji Trophy stars who deserve a place in Indian Test team:
1. Sarfaraz Khan
Sarfaraz Khan was in tremendous form in the last two Ranji Trophy seasons while playing for Mumbai as he has scored over 900 runs in two consecutive seasons. Sarfaraz’s tally in successive seasons was 928 and 982 runs, making him the first Ranji cricketer to cross the 900-run mark in consecutive seasons. He finished the 2022 Ranji season as the leading run scorer and could get his first Test call-up to the Indian Test team after stellar performances by him in first-class cricket.
The 24-year-old currently has the second highest batting average in first class cricket after Don Bradman who has scored 28067 runs at an average of 95.14. In the 2022 season, the Mumbai cricketer scored 982 runs in six matches at an average of 122.75, making him the fourth highest average batsman in a Ranji season. He scored four centuries and two half centuries this season. This even includes a good century in the final against Madhya Pradesh.
2. Rajat Patidar
Rajat Patidar had an incredible form in the 2022 Ranji Trophy for his state team Madhya Pradesh. His stupendous 122 hits made the difference on the fourth day of the summit clash against Mumbai and he eventually scored the winning runs to lead his team to their maiden title. His best performance came against Kerala, where he scored 142 runs.
The 29-year-old finished the tournament as the second best running back and had some decent knocks at crucial moments for his team. Within a month, Patidar completed a unique double of centuries in IPL knockout games and Ranji Trophy. He scored half-centuries in both the quarter-final against Punjab and the semi-final against Bengal.
In six matches in the 2022 Ranji Trophy, the Indore-born cricketer scored 658 runs at an impressive average of 82.25, including two centuries and five half-centuries.
3. Shahbaz Ahmed
RCB star all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed has produced a tremendous all-round performance for his home team Bengal in this season’s Ranji Trophy. Bengal reached the semi-finals on the basis of their all-round performance but lost in a close match to Madhya Pradesh.
The 27-year-old all-rounder ended the tournament as the seventh-highest wicket-taker and the tenth-highest run-scorer in the tournament. Overall, Shahbaz took 20 wickets in five matches at an average of 22.10 and scored 482 runs with the bat at an average of 60.25. His best performance came against Madhya Pradesh, where he registered figures of 8/165 and scored a lone century in the second innings of the game.
Shahbaz is a slow left-arm orthodox spinner who has the ability to consistently bowl at tight lengths. Also, he can play useful innings at No.6 or No.7. Despite his team losing in the semi-finals, the Haryana-born cricketer did not miss to make a mark in India’s coveted Ranji Trophy.
4. Arzan Nagwaswalla
Nagwaswala has made a mark in the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy season with stellar performances and his wicket-taking ability with the new ball has made him an exceptional performer for the Gujarat team. He took 41 wickets in eight matches at an impressive average of 18.36.
Coming into his 2022 Ranji Trophy, the 24-year-old has picked up 14 wickets in three matches at an average of 27.28. His best performance of the season was against Madhya Pradesh, where he finished his spell with a 6/132. Nagwaswala has the experience of going shoulder to shoulder with the Indian dressing room in the past and his bowling prowess of bowling consistently for long periods could give him a chance to play in the senior team.
5. Saurabh Kumar
Saurabh Kumar is another lesser-known name in the cricket fraternity but he has shown great potential to excel on the big stage and perform consistently well on the domestic circuit.
In his 2022 Ranji Trophy performance, the 29-year-old took 14 wickets in three matches at an average of 34.92. His best performance of the season was against Karnataka, where he recorded figures of 7/109. The spin-bowling all-rounder has immense ability to perform in tough conditions and many are backing him to get into the Indian colors soon.
Saurabh started his domestic career playing for Services, but later joined his home team Uttar Pradesh. He is known for bowling left-arm spin and also has the ability to contribute with the bat.
Due to his remarkable numbers in first-class cricket, the Uttar Pradesh-born player was named in the Test squad for the two-match home series against Sri Lanka earlier this year. However, he did not get a chance to play in any match. Earlier, he was selected as the net bowler for the Test series against England in 2021.