India news March 29, 2017

A mix of youth and experience make up the season's best

From Ishank Jaggi's transformation as Jharkhand's No. 1 batsman to Deepak Hooda's 'hurricane' knocks, ESPNcricinfo looks at the five best domestic performers from the 2016-17 season

Dinesh Karthik hit four half-centuries and two hundreds in his last nine List A games © PTI

India's domestic season that kicked off in August with the Duleep Trophy - played with the pink ball for the first time - drew to a close on March 29, with Tamil Nadu emerging winners of the Deodhar Trophy. They completed a phenomenal season, in which they also reached the semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy and won the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the domestic 50-over competition. ESPNcricinfo picks out five players who sparkled across formats this season:

Dinesh Karthik (Tamil Nadu)

Could he have forced his way into national reckoning for a spot in India's Champions Trophy squad, much like he did in 2013, as a specialist batsman? That Tamil Nadu achieved the double of Vijay Hazare and Deodhar Trophy titles was down to his batting brilliance. He amassed 854 runs in 12 innings - the fourth highest in a List A season in India. It also included two centuries in two finals, the first of which resulted in TN clinching the Vijay Hazare Trophy for a record fifth time. Karthik's form wasn't as prolific in the Ranji Trophy - he made 704 runs in 10 matches - but it helped Tamil Nadu into the semi-finals.

Kuldeep Yadav (Uttar Pradesh)

The culmination of his first-class exploits resulted in a Test call-up and an unlikely debut in the season-ending fourth Test against Australia in Dharamsala, where he picked up four wickets. The eight first-class games he played in the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy are the most he's played in a single season since making his debut in October 2014. While UP fared poorly and just managed to avoid being relegated, Kuldeep's performances stood out. Along with his 35 wickets in eight matches, including two five-fors, he also top-scored for the side with 466 runs in 13 innings, including a maiden first-class century. Having not been a first-choice pick in UP's XI because of the presence of Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep forced his way in by topping the wicket-takers' chart (17 wickets) in the pink-ball Duleep Trophy, the season's curtain-raiser.

Aswin Crist (Tamil Nadu)

No seamer had bowled more overs or picked up more wickets than Aswin Crist across the Ranji Trophy, the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy, and the 20-over Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy this season. Playing only his fourth domestic season, Crist was at the forefront of Tamil Nadu's rise, claiming 60 wickets in 405.4 overs at an average of 23. His 6 for 31 wiped out Karnataka for 88 on a green Visakhapatnam surface, and propelled his state into the Ranji semi-finals. He finished as Tamil Nadu's second highest wicket-taker in the Ranji Trophy with 35 scalps and followed it with a chart-topping 20 wickets in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Crist's breakthrough season culminated in a call-up to the India Under-23 squad for ACC Emerging Players' tournament in Bangladesh.

Deepak Hooda became one of only three players ever to be stranded in the 290s in the history of the Ranji Trophy © PTI

Deepak Hooda (Baroda)

Hooda had only three centuries before the start of the 2016-17 Ranji season. He scored those many in his first four innings alone this season, including an unbeaten 293 as captain against Punjab at the Feroz Shah Kotla. Hooda's effort was the second-highest individual score for Baroda, after Gul Mohammad's 319 in the 1946-47 final. In all, he scored 789 runs in 13 innings in the Ranji Trophy, but it was not enough to carry Baroda into the knockouts. Hooda's 302 runs in eight innings in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, however, ensured Baroda progressed to the semi-finals. In the Inter-State T20s, he also showed why he had been nicknamed "Hurricane" with a 48-ball hundred against Gujarat.

Ishank Jaggi (Jharkhand)

The Jharkhand vice-captain proved there was more to his side's batting stocks than just MS Dhoni and Saurabh Tiwary. His aggregate of 890 in 10 matches coincided with Jharkhand's entry to the Ranji Trophy semi-finals for the first time. He also upstaged the previous record held by Saurabh Tiwary (854) in 2012-13 for most runs by a Jharkhand batsman in a Ranji season. He carried that form into the Vijay Hazare Trophy, scoring 279 runs in eight matches at 55.80, including a century against Railways and a half-century. The reward for his consistency was a berth in India A's squad for the Deodhar Trophy.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SamRoy on April 1, 2017, 18:26 GMT

    Aswin Crist bowled 130-135k last season and I thought since he is tall and can bowl good outswing if he can get stronger probably he can bowl 140k and become an India probable. Lo and behold he was bowling 125-127k this season. Unless he improves his pace by another 15k knowing the current Indian think tank they won't pick another military medium bowler. The current Indian think tank believes in Imran Khan philosophy i.e. the first thing a fast bowler needs is velocity; it can't be taught and that is the right philosophy for Indian conditions. So I hope TN fans can stop hyping him up. Recognize him as a domestic stalwart and let's move on. Even Vijay Shankar (who needs to play for India as he and Hardik need to share the pace bowling all-rounder duties) bowled quicker sometimes.

  • rmallick on April 1, 2017, 5:20 GMT

    @PRAVEENCRICKET14: Brinder singh sran is not even in the picture in this season. Nobody knows, where is he??has he retired from cricket?? He was a good prospect but unfortunately it seems India missed one promising left arm fast bowler.

  • PRAVEENCRICKET14 on March 31, 2017, 11:51 GMT

    Having keenly followed all of the season's domestic matches myself, I appreciate this top 5 list. You got this one so right guys. Keep up the good work! Our ODI side also needs a lower middle order left hand bat that can hit sixes at will. And the ones that we need to develop are Nitish Rana & Krunal Pandya. I also like Harpreet Singh Bhatia of MP. He is a very good player. Deepak Hooda should be our ODI No.6 without a doubt. Rohit, Rahul, Virat, Yuvraj, MS, Kedar, Hardik, Jadeja, Shami, Bhuvneshwar, Umesh, Ashwin, DK, Deepak, Rishab Pant, Barinder Sran, Aswin Crist, Dhawal Kulkarni, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey should be our probables.

  • Aarabhi on March 29, 2017, 21:24 GMT

    Dinesh Karthik will have strong claims for inclusion in the team for Champions trophy on the basis of his excellent form this season especially Vijay Hazare trophy and Deodhar trophy. Selectors please take note.

  • Cricinfouser on March 29, 2017, 17:16 GMT

    Nice summary. Only one that immediately comes to mind that is not on this list is Priyank Panchal. He has a transcendent Ranji outing. I can see him not making the list as he wasn't able to translate the success to shorter format. Nonetheless, one to watch out for.

  • Shashank Kishore on March 29, 2017, 17:05 GMT

    @Venkat_75R: Shahbaz was definitely under consideration and made our Ranji dream XI. We looked at all formats for this one. Shahbaz missed out because of the T20 competition. Also under consideration was MP's Harpreet Singh Bhatia. A slightly underwhelming Ranji season meant he missed out. Thank you for your feedback.

  • venkat_75r on March 29, 2017, 16:19 GMT

    Shabaz Nadeem should be there in the top 5

  • gannyboy on March 29, 2017, 15:11 GMT

    So happy that Ashwin Crist finally being recognised and a special mention about him is made. Also good to see players with different skill set making the cut. You got a WK a chinamen, a seamer and the batting all rounders. Also hope the CT team is picked keeping into consideration the England ODI seriers, the Vijay Hazare and the deodhar. IPL performance should not be considered as its a different format.

  • No featured comments at the moment.