The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) recently announced Team India’s 16-member squad for the ODI series against South Africa at home. With the T20 World Cup-bound players scheduled to leave for Australia after the conclusion of the T20I series, a number of big names are missing from India’s ODI squad.
The team for the three matches, which will be played from October 6 to October 11, will be led by veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan, while batter Shreyas Iyer has been named as his deputy. In-form batter Rajat Patidar and pacer Mukesh Kumar have earned maiden call-ups for the series.
Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubhman Gill, and Rahul Tripathi, as well as wicketkeeper-batters Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson also find a place in the 16-man squad. Among the bowlers, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan, and Mohammed Siraj have been picked.
Few players who have performed exceptionally well in domestic matches in recent times would consider themselves unlucky not to have made the cut. Here's a look.
#1 Sarfaraz Khan
Sarfaraz Khan is only 24, but he might already be wondering what more he needs to do to break into the Indian team. He has been a run-machine in domestic cricket over the last few months.
The Mumbai batter had a sensational Ranji Trophy season. He was the leading run-scorer by some distance in India’s premier domestic competition, smashing 982 runs in six matches at an average of 122.75.
His stats included four hundreds with a best of 275. Rajat Patidar was the second-leading run-scorer in this year’s Ranji Trophy with 658 runs in six matches.
Sarfaraz’s amazing run continued when he scored an unbeaten 127 for West Zone in the Duleep Trophy final against South Zone. The right-handed batter followed it up with an attacking 138 for the Rest of India against Saurashtra in the Irani Cup.
Sarfaraz has dominated bowling attacks and has done so with amazing consistency.
#2 Kumar Kartikeya
Left-arm spinner Kumar Kartikeya was a key member of the Madhya Pradesh (MP) team that lifted the Ranji Trophy earlier this year by stunning domestic giants Mumbai in the final. Kartikeya claimed 32 wickets in six matches at an average of 20.88 with three five-wicket hauls.
The 24-year-old picked up six for 50 in the second innings in the quarter-final against Punjab to pave the way for MP’s victory. In the semi-final against Bengal, he claimed another second-innings five-fer as MP sealed their place in the final of the Ranji Trophy.
Kartikeya starred in the final as well, registering figures of four for 98 in the second innings against a strong Mumbai batting line-up. MP went on to lift the Ranji Trophy title with a six-wicket triumph in the final.
Kartikeya was also the standout performer for Central Zone in the first semi-final of the Duleep Trophy 2022. He claimed eight wickets in the match, even as West Zone came out of top in the contest.
#3 Prithvi Shaw
A few years back, Prithvi Shaw was considered the next big thing in Indian cricket, but he has been out of the white-ball squads for more than a year. His last Test match was against Australia in Adelaide in December 2020. There have been reports that his fitness has not been up to the mark, but it’s a bit bizarre that he can play the IPL, but is not considered fit enough for international cricket.
Although Shaw did not score a hundred in the Ranji Trophy, he got Mumbai off to some impressive starts, scoring 355 runs in six matches at a strike rate of 80.86.
The 22-year-old displayed brilliant form in the Duleep Trophy. The aggressive right-hander smashed 315 runs in two matches at an average of 105. He scored 113 for West Zone in the quarter-final against North East Zone, and followed it up with 60 and 142 against Central Zone in the semis.
Picked in the India A squad for the ODIs against New Zealand A, Shaw gave another demonstration of his batting form, hammering a 48-ball 77 in the second game of the three-match series.