Vijay Hazare Trophy: Players who caught the eye | Cricket

The league stage of the Vijay Hazare has come to an end with some thrilling, keenly-fought games and some mismatches where teams from the northeast were rolled over by more seasoned outfits. Obviously, the players who topped the batting and bowling charts are in good form, but the selectors and the IPL scouts will be going beyond the numbers. HT takes a look at some of the players who caught the eye:

N Jagadeesan

Matches: 7

Runs: 822

Highest score: 277

Average: 164.40

Strike rates: 125.30

100s/50s: 5/0

Every season, the batters are using the Vijay Hazare tournament to make a big splash. This edition is going to be remembered for N Jagadeesan’s exploits. The Tamil Nadu opening batter is on a century-making spree and is the leading scorer with 822 runs in seven matches at an average of 164.40.

The keeper-batter hammered 277 (141 balls) against Arunachal Pradesh on Monday to register the highest individual score in List A cricket while becoming the first batter in history to score five successive List A centuries. While the opening batter’s double hundred came against an inexperienced Arunachal Pradesh attack, his previous four hundreds in the tournament had come against more experienced teams like Andhra (114*), Chhattisgarh (107), Goa (168) and Haryana (128).

B Sai Sudharsan

Matches: 7

Runs: 586

Highest scores: 154

Average: 83.71

Strike rates: 112.26

100s/50s: 3/2

It’s natural that Sai Sudharsan’s performances have been overshadowed by his TN opening partner N Jagadeesan’s exploits, but the 21-year-old left-handed batter is having an equally terrific season. With 586 runs at an average of 83.71 with three hundreds and two half-centuries, he is second on the top-run getter’s list. After making a promising start with Gujarat Titans in the 2022 season, the big runs will be a massive boost for the young player’s confidence.

Rahul Tripathi

Matches: 6

Runs: 512

Highest score: 156*

Average: 128

Strike rates: 99.22

100s/50s: 3/2

An underrated player, Rahul Tripathi keeps improving every season. He has been the star of Maharashtra’s dominating run with six wins out of six to top a strong group which included Mumbai, Bengal, Railways and Services.

In the league matches, he was unstoppable with three hundreds and two half-centuries for an aggregate of 512 runs. The highlight being an unbeaten 156 against Mumbai while batting all 50 overs after coming as an opener.

Kuldeep Sen

Matches: 6

Wickets: 18

Best bowling: 5/36

Average: 12.72

Economy rate: 5.34

Strike rates: 14.2

Madhya Pradesh may have not qualified for the knockouts but the right-arm pacer’s trajectory continues to rise in Indian cricket. He finished as the top wicket-taker in the group stages with 18 scalps in six matches at a strike rate of 14.2 and best bowling figures of five for 36 against Punjab. The most impressive aspect was the pace at which he bowled which troubled all the batters.

As India look to build their battery of pacers, the 26-year-old is among the ones who has been groomed to step up when required. While he couldn’t fly to New Zealand for the ODI series as the Chetan Sharma-led selection committee told him to stay back and complete his Vijay Hazare Trophy commitments, he has been included in the India team for the ODI series in Bangladesh, starting December 4.

Shahbaz Ahmed

Matches: 6

Wickets: 11

Best bowling: 4/58

Average: 22.77

Economy rate: 4.87

Strike rates: 28

Not only has he impressed with his left-arm spin, the Bengal lad is also making useful contributions with the bat lower down the order. While he picked up 11 wickets at strike-rate of 28 and an economy of 4.87 in the domestic 50-over tournament, he scored two fifties in the four innings he batted. Bengal narrowly missed on a knockout spot but the 27-year-old further enhanced his reputation with his all-round display. With India looking for bowlers who can bat as well in the shortest format, Ahmed just needs to keep knocking on the door.

Ahmed earned his first India cap last month when he played in two ODIs against South Africa. He will get another opportunity to impress next month as he has been included in the India ODI squad for the Bangladesh series.

Vivrant Sharma

Matches: 6

Runs: 348

Highest score: 154*

Average: 69.60

Strike rates: 94.30

100s/50s: 1/2

He may have not scored truckloads of runs but Sharma’s knocks at the top of the order played a major role in Jammu & Kashmir qualifying for the knockouts for the first time. Sharma scored a quickfire 62-ball 69 against MP to set the platform for J&K to chase down a mammoth target of 343 in their opening match. The 23-year-old, playing only in his second season, scored 348 runs in six matches at an average of 69.60 with a highest score of 154 not out against Uttarakhand.

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