The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy ended on Sunday with Karnataka clinching the title after a thrilling final against Tamil Nadu to win a second-consecutive domestic final after their triumph against the same opponents in the Vijay Hazare Trophy in October.
While the likes of KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal and Manish Pandey rightly made the headlines for shuffling international and domestic duties, some youngsters had prolific runs and played key parts in their team’s run to the latter stages of the tournament.
Let’s have a look at the best young performers of the tournament:
The Karnataka opener has made a name for himself in the domestic season so far, shining in the Vijay Hazare and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, even ending up as the highest run-scorer in both the tournaments. It is no coincidence that Karnataka won both tournaments.
Padikkal’s left-handed elegance and the way he quickly latches on to the length of the ball makes him an exciting talent and probably is the reason why the Bengaluru-based franchise in the Indian T20 League decided to retain the 19-year-old in the squad for 2020.
It will be interesting to see how well he does in the longest format when Karnataka begin their Ranji Trophy campaign next week against Tamil Nadu.
R Sai Kishore
Tamil Nadu made it to both the finals and they may have uncovered a gem in R Sai Kishore. The left-arm off-spinner varied his lengths, bowled in the right areas and took advantage of spin-friendly wickets to help himself to a haul of 20 wickets to end up as the highest wicket-taker in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament.
The 23-year-old used his tall frame to perfection and his intelligent variations belied his age. He seems to have benefitted from the presence of a senior spinner like Ravichandran Ashwin in the squad and may have done enough to earn big bucks in the Indian T20 League auctions to be held this month.
This name has been doing the rounds in Karnataka domestic circles for the last couple of years, but Rohan Kadam came into his own in the Syed Mushtaq Ali with a consistent run of scores.
In Karnataka’s victorious campaign, Kadam hit three fifties, one of them an important 47-ball 71 to rescue his team from a tricky position to a big score against Mumbai. Of course, the latter ended up winning due to Suryakumar Yadav’s heroics but it showed his ability to adjust and pace his innings according to the situation.
He also gave company to skipper Manish Pandey in the final against Tamil Nadu, playing an important innings of 35 against a bowling which clearly looked to dominate proceedings only to be nullified.
Vidarbha may not have progressed too far in the tournament, but a 21-year-old kid certainly left his mark for the current Ranji champions. Darshan Nalkande picked up 16 wickets in just six games to end up as the fifth-highest wicket-taker and he did at an average of 9.94.
That wicket tally included a fifer, the first in his career, against Uttar Pradesh, wiping out the tail and helping his side to victory. The only negative of his campaign was his economy rate- he gave away too many runs when not picking wickets but with the right training, he can be the next generation of the pace battery of India.
Nalkande is a part of the Punjab side in the Indian T20 League and a good performance there could catapult him to the big stages soon.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @BCCIdomestic