The 2016-17 Ranji Trophy season has come to an end yesterday with Gujarat beating Mumbai by 5 wickets in the finals. With this, Gujarat ended their 83-year wait to get their hands on the trophy for the first time in history.
This season’s tournament saw a lot of players playing out of their skin to win the tournament for their state. While many managed to impress, some stood out among the rest. Some of them were rewarded with a place in the Rest of India and India A squads. Rishabh Pant went a step further and was named in India’s T20I squad to face England.
Let us take a look at Sportskeeda’s 2016-17 Ranji Trophy team of the tournament involving the best players from the tourney.
Priyank Panchal, the leading run-getter in the tournament is a certainty to bat at the top of the order. The Gujarat opener was sensational as he amassed 1310 runs in just 10 matches at an impressive average of 87.33. He was one of the main reasons why his team ended up winning the tournament. He crossed the fifty run mark on 9 occasions and went on to make it to the three-figure mark five times including a double century and a triple ton.
He looked good to surpass VVS Laxman’s record for scoring most runs (1415 runs in 1999/00) in a Ranji season but fell short by 105 runs. He has been rewarded with a place in Sportskeeda’s 2016-17 Ranji Trophy team of the tournament for the kind of consistency he showed in the last 4 months.
But, there are few other openers who were in the fray to open the batting with Panchal. Haryana’s Nitin Saini and Himachal Pradesh’s Prashant Chopra did well for their teams and pushed hard for a spot in the XI. Saini scored 989 in 18 innings at an average of 61.81 while Chopra finished with 978 runs in 15 innings at over 57 runs per innings and finished in the second and third place in the run-getters’ chart respectively.
But, Tamil Nadu skipper Abhinav Mukund pipped both Chopra and Saini to open alongside Panchal as he led his team from the front in their journey to the semis. Mukund averages over 65 in the 14 innings he played from which he scored 849 runs including 4 hundreds and 3 fifties out of which he was dismissed on 99 once.
The middle-order of Sportskeeda’s 2016-17 Ranji Trophy team of the tournament features the likes of Jharkhand batsman Ishank Jaggi, the eventual winning captain Parthiv Patel, the find of the tournament, Rishabh Pant and Services’ Rahul Singh.
Patel, who was recalled into the Indian side after 8 years during the England series, will bat at number 3 in our XI. The veteran wicketkeeper-batsman has scored 763 runs in 14 innings at an average of 58.69. His 90 and 143 against Mumbai in the final took his team home with ease. The Indian stumper was good behind the stumps and will don the wicket-keeping gloves in this team ahead of Rishabh Pant and Ishank Jaggi.
Though the majority of the spotlight in the Jharkhand team was on Ishan Kishan, his teammate Ishank Jaggi, who has been consistent for his state team in the last few years, silently made a case for himself.
Jaggi finished the Ranji season with 890 runs from 16 innings at an average of 59.33. He bailed out Jharkhand on several occasions including the semi-finals, but his efforts in the first innings against Gujarat was not enough for Jharkhand to make it to the finals.
One of the talking points throughout the tournament was Delhi’s Rishabh Pant. The 19-year-old left-hander was completely in a league of his own as he smashed each and every bowler he faced. Pant scored his 972 runs at a rate of 107.28 runs every 100 balls and averaged 81 in 12 innings. He was rewarded for his efforts with a place in the Indian T20I team to face England later this month.
One name in this list that might not be a household name among the fans is Rahul Singh. The Services batsman had a memorable debut season as he amazed 945 runs in 15 innings at an extraordinary average of 72.69, numbers that are too hard to ignore. With age on his side, the 21-year-old left-hander can only improve from here and reach greater heights in the future.
Having a good all-rounder is a blessing in disguise for any team and the case is no different with Sportskeeda’s 2016-17 Ranji Trophy team of the tournament too. This team has two good all-rounders who are capable of contributing with both bat and ball.
One of the names that has been on the Indian selectors’ radar for a while is Parvez Rasool. The Jammu and Kashmir all-rounder has done all he could to earn a place in the national team but couldn’t make it for some reason. Rasool had yet another amazing season that saw him score 629 runs with the bat at an average of over 39 and scalp 39 wickets with the ball at 23.8 runs per wicket.
Also Read: 2016-17 Ranji Trophy in numbers
Along with Rasool, we have a pace bowling all-rounder in Abhishek Nayar, who has been Mumbai’s go-to man in the pressure situation in the last few seasons. Nayar didn’t disappoint and delivered for his team each and every time as he scored runs with the bat and took wickets with the ball whenever his skipper needed one.
In the ten matches he played, Nayar scored 588 runs at 45.23 runs per innings and with the ball, he effected 25 dismissals with an average of 27.
Apart from Parvez Rasool, this team also has Jharkhand’s Shahbaz Nadeem as the second spinner. Nadeem is someone who has been the knocking the doors of the national selectors with his performance in the domestic circuit.
This season, Nadeem created history by becoming the first bowler to take 50 wickets in two consecutive Ranji seasons. He was the main reason why Jharkhand made it to the semis as he picked up 56 wickets, the most by any bowler this season. He picked a wicket every 53 balls and conceded 25.60 runs for every wicket he took this season.
Without a second thought, Nadeem gets a place in Sportskeeda’s 2016-17 Ranji Trophy team of the tournament.
This season, there were a lot of pacers who made a mark in India’s premier domestic tournament. The likes of Hyderabad’s Md Siraj, Tamil Nadu's K Vignesh, Bengal’s veteran pacer Ashok Dinda etc. were sensational this season. But, one man who stood out among the rest was Maharashtra’s Anupam Sanklecha, who finished behind Nadeem on the wicket-takers’ list.
Sanklecha picked up 43 wickets in just 13 innings at an impressive average and strike-rate of 16.18 and 36.1 respectively. He also took five fifers and his 14-94 against Vidharbha was the best bowling figures in a match by a bowler this season.
Sharing the new ball with Sanklecha will be Rajasthan’s old warhorse Pankaj Singh. Pankaj, who played just one Test for India continued to impress in the domestic circuit as he took 41 wickets in just 15 innings at an average of 22.7.
Alongside Sanklecha and Pankaj, Abhishek Nayar will be the third seamer in the Sportskeeda’s 2016-17 Ranji Trophy team of the tournament.
Sportskeeda’s 2016-17 Ranji Trophy team of the tournament
As mentioned earlier, there were a lot of players who did well in the tournament and it was difficult to pick just 11 players. Special mention to the likes of Haryana’s Nitin Saini, Himachal’s Prashant Chopra, Gujarat’s Samit Gohil, Hyderabad’s Md Siraj etc. for the way they played in the tournament.
It was extremely difficult to leave out Punjab’s Yuvraj Singh, Jharkhand’s Ishan Kishan, Tamil Nadu’s K Vignesh, Uttar Pradesh’s Kuldeep Yadav from the team. So, to honour their performances, they are named as the substitutes of Sportskeeda’s 2016-17 Ranji Trophy team of the tournament and in the process, forming a 15-member squad.
India’s dashing southpaw Yuvraj Singh will be the 12th man of the team that will be led by the Ranji Trophy-winning captain, Parthiv Patel.
Priyank Panchal (Gujarat)
Abhinav Mukund (Tamil Nadu)
Parthiv Patel (Gujarat) (c and wk)
Ishank Jaggi (Jharkhand)
Rishabh Pant (Delhi)
Rahul Singh (Service)
Abhishek Nayar (Mumbai)
Parvez Rasool (Jammu and Kashmir)
Shahbaz Nadeem (Jharkhand)
Pankaj Singh (Rajasthan)
Anupam Sanklecha (Maharashtra)
12th man: Yuvraj Singh (Punjab)
Ishan Kishan (Jharkhand)
K Vignesh (Tamil Nadu)
Kuldeep Yadav (Uttar Pradesh)Published 15 Jan 2017, 19:53 IST