The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) is a domestic T20 cricket championship in India organized by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and played by the teams that participate in the Ranji Trophy.
The inaugural season was played in 2006-07 as the Inter-State T20 Championship. It was only in 2009-10 that the tournament was renamed the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
In 2016, BCCI announced that they would scrap the SMAT and replace it with a zonal tournament. However, it went back on its decision the next year to continue with SMAT.
Youngsters to watch out for in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021
Like every other tournament, the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy too brings a plethora of opportunities for youngsters to get recognized for their talent. Let's look that the players to watch out for, at the SMAT 2021.
1. Devdutt Padikkal
The prolific young Karnataka batsman had emerged as one of the biggest finds of IPL 2020. Following consistent performances throughout the tournament, Padikkal definitely caught the eye of the Indian selectors. Winning the Emerging Player Award has only added to his list of accomplishments, and a good Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy season for Karnataka would definitely get him closer to his first call-up to the national team. He's certainly a player to watch out for this season.
2. Ishan Kishan
After a mind-boggling performances at the IPL, Ishan Kishan is all set to lead the Jharkhand cricket team in the tournament. The Indian contingent is in desperate need for a wicketkeeper-batsman replacement for the legendary MS Dhoni, who retired from the team in 2020.
After Rishabh Pant's repeated failures on the international circuit, the selectors are looking for a suitable and long-term replacement for wicketkeeping position, and Ishan Kishan could well be under the radar.
If he continues his magic spell at the SMAT too, Kishan would not be too far from receiving his maiden India call-up. Hence, Kishan would be the someone to watch out for during this season.
3. Suryakumar Yadav
Hailed as one of the best young batsman in India currently, Suryakumar Yadav is certainly inches away from his India call-up. It came as a shock to many when the prolific top-order batsman didn't make it to India's squad for the Australia tour.
The star batsman is now set to lead the Mumbai team at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy that commences on 10th January 2021. A string of good performances at SMAT would certainly have Suryakumar donning the blues very soon.
4. Ravi Bishnoi
The young leg-spinner who idolizes Anil Kumble comes to the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy backed by prolific performances at the Under-19 world cup and the IPL 2020.
With tons of talent within, the young spin wizard's wicket-taking abilities has made everyone believe in his chances for playing for the men in blue very soon. Bishnoi is thus one of the key players to look out for, at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021.
5. Ruturaj Gaikwad
Ruturaj Gaikwad, the young batting sensation for India entered into limelight in the later half of the IPL. The prolific youngster will feature as a part of the Mumbai squad at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, 2021.
Ruturaj will be hoping to use the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy as the springboard for his batting to be noticed ahead of the next IPL and the ICC World T20 that is expected to be played in India in 2021.
Who have been the past winners of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy?
In 12 seasons concluded so far, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy has seen 9 different winners. Baroda, Gujarat and Karnataka have been the most successful sides, with 2 title victories each.
2006-07 - Tamil Nadu
2009-10 - Maharashtra
2010-11 - Bengal
2011-12 - Baroda
2012-13 - Gujarat
2013-14 - Baroda
2014-15 - Gujarat
2015-16 - Uttar Pradesh
2016-17 - East Zone
2017-18 - Delhi
2018-19 - Karnataka
2019-20 - KarnatakaPublished 03 Jan 2021, 08:10 IST