Vishnu Vinod

A punchy opening batsman who can also keep wicket, Vinod shellacked 14 sixes - the most by any player - in the Inter-State Twenty20 2016-17. His hitting included four consecutive sixes off Goa left-arm spinner Sher Yadav in the arc between deep midwicket and long-on. The pick of the lot was the second, when he advanced down the pitch and hit the roof of the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

"Being aggressive with the bat comes naturally to me," Vinod said after Kerala's win against Goa. "Sticking with that approach has helped so far. I don't intend to change that unless it becomes necessary … IPL is something I've been wanting to be a part of all this time. I just want to go out there and keep doing my best so that selectors can take notice of me."

Basil Thampi

Vinod's Kerala team-mate Thampi consistently clocked speeds north of 140kph and hustled batsmen with pace and bounce in the Inter-State and Inter-Zonal T20s. He claimed eight wickets in five matches in the Inter-State T20s and had an economy of 6.22, including 3 for 19 against Goa.

Thampi had also impressed in the VAP Memorial Trophy - the 50-over tournament conducted by the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association - taking 11 scalps in five matches for Globe Trotters at an average of 14.91 and economy rate of 4.10.

Tanmay Agarwal

A product of Hyderabad age-group cricket, Agarwal, 21, was the highest run-scorer in the Inter-State T20s, with 250 runs in five innings at a strike rate of 162.33. Four batsmen topped 200 runs in the tournament, with only Agarwal having a strike rate in excess of 150.

The opener is not just about power-hitting, though. He also showed good awareness by placing the ball into gaps. After his 49-ball 85 led Hyderabad to a 72-run victory over Tamil Nadu, his coach B Arun said: "He has played this kind of an innings before. He looks diminutive, but packs a punch in his strokes ... Tanmay made use of the pace of the bowlers to play shots in areas such as fine leg. When you play such shots, it makes the bowler think."

Ishank Jaggi

"Better late than never," Jaggi might have thought after he elbowed his way into the IPL player auction two days before the event, with a 30-ball 56 that inspired East Zone to the Inter-Zonal T20 title. East Zone won all four matches in the tournament, with Jaggi hitting three half-centuries, including a brutal 51-ball 90 against South Zone. The knock, studded with eleven fours and four sixes, helped East chase down 179.

Jaggi is the leading run-getter in the history of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, with 1246 runs at an average of 34.61 and a strike of 120.03. The 28-year-old Jharkhand batsman also had a productive Ranji Trophy season, making 890 runs at 59.33 in the side's run to the semi-final.

T Natarajan

One of the major success stories of the inaugural season of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), left-arm medium-pacer T Natarajan bowled six yorkers in a Super Over against Tuti Patriots, to choke his state captain Abhinav Mukund and Washington Sundar, who represented India in the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh last year.

Natarajan went on to establish himself in Tamil Nadu's first-class set-up. He was a vital part of Tamil Nadu's bowling revival in the Ranji Trophy, collecting 24 wickets in eight matches. His ability to nail yorkers resurfaced in the Inter-State T20s when he bowled five in an over, at the death against Karnataka on T20 debut.

Mohammed Siraj

A fast bowler with a strong action and a deceptive bouncer, Siraj played a starring role for Hyderabad in his first full season, as they reached the Ranji Trophy knockouts for the first time since 2011-12. His nine-wicket haul in the quarter-finals then nearly upset Mumbai. Siraj followed that with nine wickets in the Inter-State T20s and had an economy rate of 6.57. He has earned call-ups to the Rest of India and India A sides this season. Will he earn an IPL deal?

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo