Top 5 emerging stars from the 2022 Ranji Trophy
The 2022 edition of the Ranji Trophy comes to conclusion as Madhya Pradesh ends the title drought of 70 years by defeating Mumbai in the Grand Finale. MP who were playing without their International guns Venkatesh Iyer and Avesh Khan edged past the 41-time champions by 6 wickets to claim the prestige. The two-phased competition saw 38 teams quarrelling in 65 games across 50 days to earn the tag of India’s red-ball cricket champions on the final day.
Ranji Trophy is the biggest platform for the Indian youngsters to show their mettle in cricket’s longest format and prove themselves a contender for the national team. The domestic rising stars emerge through the youth ranks and take part in this red-ball fest year in, year out. It is considered an elite competition among first-class tournaments around the world due to its rich heritage and legacy of the competition.
Ranji Trophy performance is always considered a major benchmark whenever a new face is knocking on the door of the national team. We have seen many Indian greats crediting Ranji Trophy for their success with the National Team in whites. In such a grand event where a huge number of teams from all over the nation participate, it’s always hard for the youngsters to stand tall and reach the top.
#5 Yash Dhull (Delhi)
A couple of weeks after becoming the third Delhi-born cricketer to win the U-19 World Cup as a captain, Yash went on to make his first-class debut with Delhi. He had already displayed his captaincy skills on the biggest stage of youth cricket very well and earned worldwide praises for leading the nation to triumph. And then the youngster went on to showcase his sheer batting class to the Indian cricket fraternity due to an astonishing maiden domestic campaign.
On his Ranji Trophy debut game, he smashed centuries in both innings (113 & 113*) and toyed with an elite bowling attack of Tamil Nadu. He scored a whopping total of 479 runs in just six innings with an incredible average of 119.75 and finished the marvellous breakout season as Delhi’s highest run-scorer. Unfortunately, Delhi’s Ranji Trophy could not go further in the group stages but the 19-year-old sensation finished it on a great individual note by scoring a double-hundred knock against Chhattisgarh in the final game.
Yash’s services were acquired by his home team Delhi Capitals for the 2022 Indian Premier League where the youngster didn’t even get a single chance to make it to the DC playing eleven. His rise in the short period of time is significant as he may turn out to be a strong contender for Delhi’s captaincy in the future. While the Capitals franchise also considers him as a prospect and will be offering him bigger exposure in the upcoming times.
#4 Sakibul Gani (Bihar)
Another dynamic batter who made headlines and became a popular name in the domestic circuit after his heroics in the debut first-class game. Gani who comes from Chandrahiya village of Bihar put his state on the global cricketing map by scoring a triple century in the maiden Ranji Trophy game which is a world record. The 22-year-old middle-order batter had already made his limited-overs debut in 2019 but due to various reasons, it took him three years to barge into the red-ball scene.
On his debut day, he walked on to the crease when Bihar was down to 71/3 and left the battlefield when the team total fared 609 for 4. A record-breaking 538-run partnership for the fourth wicket between Gani (341) and Babul Kumar (229) lashed out the Mizoram bowling unit. Then he went on to register batting figures of 98, 101, 38 & 23 in the rest of the campaign to finish the debut season with a total tally of 601 from just five innings.
Sakibul is now a world record holder as his innings of 341 runs stand as the highest by a debutant in first-class cricket. He was among the Top 5 run-scorers of the season until the final game when Madhya Pradesh’s Shubham Sharma took over his tally and kept him aside. Bihar has proved their capabilities to be a level ahead of plate group teams and having a rising star like Sakibul Gani on their side, they can challenge any elite side in the upcoming times.
#3 Kumar Kartikeya (Madhya Pradesh)
Kartikeya became part of the Mumbai Indians contingent as a net bowler After his promising performances with the Madhya Pradesh side in the last couple of years. Then he was included in the first-team squad as a replacement for his MP teammate Arshad Khan who was ruled out of the 2022 season due to an injury. He went on to make his MI debut just a day after his inclusion in the squad where he registered a remarkable figure of 1/13 against Rajasthan Royals and regularly featured in the MI eleven for the rest of the season.
The 2022 edition of the Ranji Trophy turned out to be a breakthrough campaign in his career as he played a vital role in the triumphant run being the second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament. The Chinaman bowler fetched 32 wickets from six games at an average of 20.88 and also claimed the fifer thrice in the season. And most importantly he stood for his side when they needed him the most and picked four wickets in the third innings of the Final to restrict Mumbai to an achievable target for themselves.
The Chinaman bowlers are always considered special commodities in India due to the lack of spinners with such style. Hence Kartikeya can make his way to the top very quickly if he sustains this form further. Especially after his pivotal contribution to the Ranji Trophy-winning campaign, his retention by Mumbai Indians for the 2023 edition is likely and they may consider him as their frontline spin-bowling option.
#2 Shams Mulani (Mumbai)
Before the 2022 Ranji Trophy season commenced, Shams was already a big name in Mumbai cricket and the performance of this season has spread a word nationwide that he is going to be the next big thing in the domestic circuit. In a three-month halt between the two legs of the current season, he led Mumbai U-25 to the glory of Col CK Naidu Trophy by defeating Maharashtrian rivals Vidarbha in the final. Captain Shams fetched 32 wickets from just six innings of the tournament which also includes the wrath of 11 wickets (4/113 & 7/50) in the Grand Finale.
When the Ranji Trophy season resumed, Mulani sustained his red-hot form and continued to pick hefty wickets for his side day in, day out. He topped the wicket-taking charts of the season with an astonishing tally of 45 wickets when no other bowler could even cross the mark of 35 wickets. The left-arm spinner also delivered a classy performance in the final too where he picked fifer in the first innings and three wickets in the second innings but unfortunately, it couldn’t turn out to be a winning contribution as the Madhya Pradesh eventually took the honour.
Earlier he was known for his bowling abilities only but the Mumbaikar proved himself to be an all-rounder who is capable of delivering crucial knocks for his side. Shams has been part of many IPL sides as a first-team member or bet bowler but has yet to make his debut in the world’s toughest T20 league. He is already under the radar of many franchisees and few of them can also launch a huge bid for his services in the 2023 IPL auctions.
#1 Yash Dubey (Madhya Pradesh)
The opening batters of Madhya Pradesh gave them strong starts throughout the tournament and played a big role in their triumph-chariot. Interestingly, Dubey who opened the MP innings with Himanshu Mantri in the final never batted in that position before this tournament. The 23-year-old right-handed batter owned the biggest red-ball cricket stage in the country and joined the forces with Shubham Sharma and Rajat Patidar to ensure that MP always gets a good start.
His quick unbeaten knock of 85 against Meghalaya side gave an idea to the coach Chandrakant Pandit to promote him up in the order which eventually turned out to be a game-changer for them. In his very first innings as an opener, Dubey smashed 289 runs against Kerala while toying with the likes of Jalaj Saxena, Basil Thampi and M Nidheesh to claim the Player of the Match honour. A fighting tally of 133 in the first innings and a 222-run partnership with Shubham Sharma for the second wicket helped MP to recover from the trailing position and post a humongous lead for the second innings.
Yash finished his breakthrough Ranji Trophy season as the 4th highest run-getter of the tournament with 614 runs at an average of 76.75 from 10 innings of six fixtures. The Jabalpur-born batter has to be the find of the season for the reigning red-ball cricket champions as the coach Chandrakant Pandit also considers him a special talent. While he also is expected to attract bids from the IPL franchises in the forthcoming edition.