Defending champions Vidarbha completed a double as they defeated Saurashtra in the 2018-19 season of the Ranji Trophy. A 78-run win on the final day of the final meant that the Nagpur-based squad have become one of the very few sides to have achieved the feat of two consecutive Ranji Trophy victories.
The 2018-19 season started in the month of November, with a number of new sides added to the competition. The new format for qualification increased the expectations around the tournament, and there were quite a few close matches.
A lot of new talents emerged this year, while a few veterans showed that they still had the ability to make an impact in India's premier domestic competition.
On that note, here is a list of the Best Performing XI from this year's Ranji Trophy. While a few of these players would have their eyes on an India cap, a few of them are already a part of the IPL franchises for the upcoming season.
Openers: Priyank Panchal and Abhimanyu Easwaran
Priyank Panchal has been one of the top-scores in Ranji cricket for the last 3 seasons. The Gujarat player was yet again amongst the top-scorers this season; he managed a whopping 898-run tally in just 17 innings.
Most of Panchal's innings came under pressure, and he could be wearing India colors soon if he can keep up his consistency.
Abhimanyu Easwaran is now a constant in the India A squad. The Bengal player managed to impress again, even though he got only 6 matches to play.
At an average of 95.67, Easwaran notched up 865 runs, which could put him on the national selector's radar for the upcoming tournaments. He could also be the first choice domestic injury replacement for the upcoming IPL season.
Middle-Order: Wasim Jaffer, Milind Kumar, Puneet Bisht (wk), Rinku Singh
At 40 years of age, Wasim Jaffer yet again crossed the 1000-run mark and also won his 10th Ranji Trophy in the process. The veteran was in tremendous form throughout the season, and his performance was vital in Vidharba's title-winning campaign.
The Mumbai batsman will also be a good candidate to lead this XI.
Delhi's Milind Kumar switched sides to Sikkim for this Ranji season and the move brought dividends for the 27-year-old. Not only did he become the top-scorer for this edition, but Milind will also be playing in the upcoming IPL season with RCB and will have a chance to impress the Indian captain.
He amassed 1331 runs in 14 innings, which suggests he will be a force to reckon with in this squad.
Puneet Bisht was the best wicketkeeper-batsman this season. The Delhi-born cricketer impressed with his bat for Meghalaya, and was also efficient behind the wickets.
The right-hander amassed a total of 892 runs in 12 innings with an impressive average of 89.2. Hence, Puneet will make it to this squad as the wicket-keeper.
Rinku Singh did extremely well for Uttar Pradesh this season as he put on 953 runs in 10 matches. The left-hander is known for his big hitting abilities, and his upcoming season with KKR will be crucial in his development.
All-rounders: Aditya Sarwate and Ashutosh Aman
Aditya Sarwate was the difference between the two teams in the Ranji Trophy final. The Nagpur cricketer was clinical with both bat and ball as he helped his side clinch the Ranji Trophy for the second time in a row.
Sarwate picked up 55 wickets this season with his left-arm orthodox action, and was good with the bat too. His performance in the last game of the season will be remembered for a long time, and a consistent performance henceforth could open the gates for his selection to the Indian team.
Despite being a batting all-rounder, 32-year-old Ashutosh Aman broke all the bowling records this season as he picked up a mind-boggling 68 wickets in 7 games. With his wily left-arm off-spin, Ashutosh Aman could help Bihar scale up the charts in domestic cricket.
Bowlers: Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Tanveer Ul-Haq and Aniket Choudhary
Dharmendrasinh Jadeja is slowly establishing himself as one of the best left-arm spinners in India, as the Rajkot player has been picking wickets consistently in the last few seasons. He single-handedly dealt with the batting line-up of the opposition in various conditions, scalping 59 wickets to finish as Saurashtra's leading wicket-taker.
Tanveer Ul-Haq was an unknown commodity at the start of the season but the left-arm bowler troubled the best batsmen this tournament. He took 51 wickets, and has given hope for India to find Zaheer Khan's replacement.
Aniket Choudhary has been showing glimpses of promise over the years but had been inconsistent before this season. However, his performance in the 2018-19 edition could help India stock up their pace battery with a fiery left-arm fast bowler.
Choudhary is fast and takes a lot of wickets at the beginning of the innings. He could well be the next left-arm pacer to make his Test debut for India.