Ranji Trophy 2017/18: Five best bowlers in the group stages
The round-robin matches of the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy season have come to an end today, and Karnataka, Delhi, Gujarat, Kerala, Mumbai, Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha and Bengal have booked their slots for the quarter-finals.
It is a welcome sign to see dark horses like Vidarbha, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh play dominating cricket this season. However, tournament favourites like Mumbai and Gujarat had to fight until the very end to earn their ticket to the quarter-finals.
This season has given us some new bowling sensations. It has been a good trial ground for Indian fast bowlers.
They have shown everyone the importance of domestic cricket. One frustrating aspect of the group stage Ranji games, however, is the failure of the administration to prepare any pacer-friendly tracks.
We have considered bowlers' consistency, wicket-taking ability, strike-rate, bowling average, match-winning performances while coming up with the finalized list of best bowlers.
Here are the top 5 bowlers of the group-stage of 2017-18 Ranji Trophy season.
#5 Ishant Sharma (Delhi)
The Indian selectors have done well in sending Ishant Sharma to play Ranji Trophy games; he played exceedingly well to earn a spot in the Indian bowling lineup.
The 6'4'' bowler played just four games for Delhi, but has made an immense impact with his opportunity, and claimed 20 wickets at an average of 12.80. Yes, a bowling average of 12.80. He is one of the very few standout fast bowlers in the spin-dominant tournament.
He started his campaign with a bang, claiming a five-wicket haul against Assam. Whenever he has a chance to play, he impresses with his consistent wicket-taking ability.
Sharma took 14 wickets in his next three Ranji games, ensuring a smooth passage for Delhi on to the knockouts.
He continued his impressive performance in India's recently concluded 2nd Test against Sri Lanka. He ended with match figures of 5/80 on a batting-friendly Nagpur wicket.