On Sunday, the All-India Senior Selection Committee named a 16-member strong Indian squad for the upcoming three-match ODI series against South Africa. The first match will be played in Lucknow on October 6, while Ranchi and Delhi will be the host venues for the remaining games on October 9 and October 11 respectively.
Shreyas Iyer, who was named as a reserve player for the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia, will be the vice-captain in this series. Deepak Chahar and Ravi Bishnoi are the other two players from the standby list to be picked in the ODI squad.
With India fielding a new-look roster for the three ODIs against the Proteas, it provides massive opportunities for young players who have put in hard yards.
Here are three of those players who performed exceptionally well in domestic matches and deservingly sealed their place in the Indian ODI squad.
#3 Shahbaz Ahmed
Part of the current Indian T20I squad, Shahbaz Ahmed has made a name for himself as a handy all-rounder while playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the IPL and Bengal in domestic cricket.
Predominantly a left-arm spinner who can be used as a floater in a white-ball team, Shahbaz has had a terrific 2022 so far.
After the Bangalore-based franchise bought back Shahbaz for ₹2.4 crore at the IPL auction this year, he scored 219 runs in 16 games (sixth-most by an uncapped Indian) along with picking up four wickets.
In this year's Ranji Trophy, Shahbaz was the best player for Bengal and enjoyed a tremendous season. He powered his side to the semi-finals after amassing 482 runs at an immaculate average of 60.2 in five games. His left-arm spin wreaked havoc too, as Shahbaz picked up 20 wickets at an average of 22.10.
Being the only genuine all-rounder in the ODI squad, it shouldn't come as a surprise if India hand Shahbaz his debut in the first ODI against South Africa itself.
#2 Mukesh Kumar
Another Bengal star, Mukesh Kumar earned his place in the Indian team on the back of some high-class displays in domestic matches.
A prolific red-ball pacer who has the ability to dominate opposition batters with his swing, Mukesh has been in great form in the last few months. The right-arm pacer claimed 20 scalps in five fixtures and was the third-highest wicket-taker among the fast bowlers in the Ranji Trophy 2021/22.
Mukesh's selection to the Indian team came a day after the 28-year old starred in the ongoing Irani Cup game while representing the Rest of India. Opening the bowling for his side on Day 1 of the five-day clash, he returned with figures of 4/23 as Saurashtra, the 2020 Ranji Trophy champions, were bundled out for 98.
Prior to the Irani Cup fixture, Mukesh emerged as the top wicket taker in first-class games against New Zealand A as well. While playing for India A, the Kolkata-born pacer took nine wickets in three matches which forced the selectors to take note of him.
#1 Rajat Patidar
Leading our list is Rajat Patidar, who rose to fame when he scored the fastest century by an uncapped Indian in IPL history earlier this year. Playing only his second IPL season, Patidar came up with several crunch knocks for RCB in IPL 2022, amassing 333 runs at an average of 55.5 and a strike rate of 152.7 in eight games.
Afterwards, the right-handed batter continued his merry run of form in the List A and first-class matches as well. Patidar returned with scores of 85 and 79 against Punjab and Bengal respectively in knockout matches before slamming a match-winning hundred against Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy final to guide Madhya Pradesh to the title.
He was the second-highest run-getter of the 2021/22 Ranji season with a tally of 658 runs that included two centuries and five fifties. Patidar's other significant recent innings for India A were 176 and 109* in four-day matches against New Zealand A in Bengaluru last month.
With the Shikhar Dhawan-led side already stacked with some great batting talents, it remains to be seen whether Patidar manages to get some game time in the upcoming series.