Ranji Trophy 2021-22: Madhya Pradesh's five players finished in top-5 run-scorers and wicket-takers in Ranji Trophy 2022 edition.
Madhya Pradesh is a team in India’s domestic competition that has never made headlines in any dailies and TV channels. They never won a Ranji Trophy title in the last 71 years However, all this changed when one man arrived in the Madhya Pradesh camp with sheer determination; the name is Chandrakant Pandit, a former Mumbai & India player and a renowned coach in the domestic circuit of India.
Pandit has played for India in Test cricket and has proved his mettle in domestic cricket of India over the last two decades as a coach. He has tasted huge success in coaching after his retirement in 2001. Under his coaching, Mumbai won Ranji Trophy thrice and he also rejuvenated the Vidarbha side and helped them to be victorious in two successive Ranji Trophy editions in 2017-18 and 2018-19.
After he joined the Madhya Pradesh camp in March 2020, he nurtured many young players in the Madhya Pradesh side which gave him results in crunch situations this season. Players like Yash Dubey, Shubham Sharma, Rajat Patidar, Kumar Kartikeya and Gaurav Yadav hit their peak form this season.
Dubey, Patidar and Sharma finished in the top 5 run-scorers this season of Ranji Trophy. On the other hand, Kartikeya and Yadav finished in the top 5 wicket-takers in Ranji Trophy 2022.
Let’s take a look at how these fine performers from the champion side scripted the success story of Madhya Pradesh.
Top Batters for Madhya Pradesh in Ranji Trophy 2021-22
Rajat Patidar (658 Runs, Average 82.25)
Rajat Patidar, a 29-year-old player from Indore, is not among some child cricket prodigies in Indian domestic cricket like Prithvi Shaw, Sarfaraz Khan, Armaan Jaffer and Shubman Gill. Patdiar made his debut at the age of 22 in 2015-16 and notched up his peak after seven years of hard toil.
However, there was some attention on him from 2021, when he was picked by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL). At last in the middle of 2022, Patidar unleashed his talent to strike one of the finest match-winning centuries in IPL playoffs against Lucknow Super Giants (LSG).
Patidar carried his form in Ranji Trophy 2022 and became the second-highest run-scorer this season. Rajat piled up 658 runs from six games with a remarkable average of 82.25; only Mumbai middle-order batter Sarfaraz Khan scored more runs (982) than Patidar in this season. Patidar struck five fifties, the highest for any player in this season of Ranji Trophy, and also notched up two centuries in the campaign.
Rajat Patidar played his most important innings in the Ranji Final this year against Mumbai at M Chinnaswamy Stadium. The right-hand batter came to bat with Madhya Pradesh at 269/2 and took advantage of the good foundation provided by opener Yash Dubey and one down batter Shubham Sharma. Rajat Patidar scored 122 runs off 219 deliveries with the help of 20 elegant fours. His century helped Madhya Pradesh to reach close to 500 in their first innings and secure a substantial first innings lead.
The Indore-born player also scored a vital unbeaten knock of 30 runs in the fourth innings to help his side overhaul the target of 108. He milked these runs quickly and his attractive backfoot punches made fans happy in the stadium.
Yash Dubey (614 Runs, Average 76.75)
If Patidar make runs quickly with the help of flamboyant boundaries, Madhya Pradesh opener Yash Dubey made runs patiently after getting settled in the middle. The old-school batter scored 614 runs from six matches in this campaign, which made him the fourth-highest run-scorer in this season with a phenomenal average of 76.75 for an opener. The right-hand batter hammered two centuries and one fifty in the process. His magnum opus knock this season was a gigantic innings of 289 runs against Kerala in the group stage, where he played over 200 overs.
Dubey built a foundation for Madhya Pradesh’s win in the all-important final against Mumbai by adding 47 runs with fellow opener Himanshu Mantri and 222 runs with Shubham Sharma for the second wicket. Due to these strong partnerships, the next batters of Madhya Pradesh could play freely to maximise their total in the first innings.
Shubham Sharma (608 Runs, Average 76)
Madhya Pradesh's one-down batter Shubham Sharma has reached the zenith this season under the coaching of Chandrakant Pandit. Sharma, a 28-year-old batter, who could strike only three first-class centuries in his first 32 games, smacked four centuries in this edition of Ranji Trophy in just six games. He aggregated 608 runs with an average of 76 and became the fifth-highest run-getter this season.
The revolutionary change in young players like Sharma and Patidar can be attributed to the able guidance of head coach Pandit. Sharma played a pivotal role in this historic win of Madhya Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy final by scoring 116 runs off 215 deliveries. He raced off to a century in just 186 deliveries, and added 222 runs with Dubey to build the innings of Madhya Pradesh. His attacking strokes put opponent bowlers on the backfoot early in the innings.
While chasing the target of 108 runs in the fourth innings, Sharma also played a patient knock of 30 runs off 75 deliveries. He came in the middle with Madhya Pradesh at 2/1 and added 52 runs with opener Himanshu Mantri for the second wicket and added 35 runs with Patidar for the fourth wicket to help his side reach very close to the target.
Sharma was awarded the Player of the Match award for his vital contributions in both innings of the all-important final.
Top Bowlers for Madhya Pradesh in Ranji Trophy 2021-22
Kumar Kartikeya (32 Wickets, Average 21.00)
Left-arm spinner Kumar Kartikeya was a key element in the bowling attack of the champion Madhya Pradesh side led by Aditya Shrivastava. Kartikeya scalped 32 wickets in just six games in this victorious campaign of Madhya Pradesh; only Mumbai spinner Shams Mulani bagged more wickets (45) than Kartikeya. Each wicket cost Kartikeya only 21 runs and he bagged a wicket every 55 balls in this season of Ranji Trophy. He recorded three fifers in the process.
Kartikeya played a premier role in the second innings of Mumbai in the final by dismissing top-order batters like Hardik Tamore, Suved Parkar and Yashasvi Jaiswal. He bagged a total of five wickets in this crucial game and played a major role in the victory of his side this season.
Add to that his seven wickets each in the quarter-final against Punjab and semi-final against Bengal and you have a potential contender for Team India. The Sultanpur-born spinner deserves all the accolades for making his way up the hard way as he had to also do a full-time job apart from pursuing his passion of playing cricket in the initial phase of his career.
Gaurav Yadav (23 Wickets, Average 18.91)
Right-arm medium pacer Gaurav Yadav bagged 23 wickets from five games in this season of Ranji Trophy, which became the first triumph of Madhya Pradesh in 71 years. He was the fourth-highest wicket-taker this season after Mumbai spinner Mulani (45), his teammate Kartikeya (32) and Jharkhand spinner Shahbaz Nadeem (25).
The 30-year-old player also played a crucial role in the final against Mumbai by taking six wickets in the match. When Mumbai’s middle-order batter Sarfaraz Khan was piling runs quickly in the first innings along with the lower order, Yadav cleaned up the tail to limit the damage done by Sarfaraz.
Yadav dismissed lower-order batters like Mulani, Tanush Kotian and Tushar Deshpande early in the day and then dismissed chief nemesis Sarfaraz to wrap up the Mumbai innings on 364. Also in the second innings of Mumbai, he sent dangerous-looking Prithvi Shaw to the pavilion on just 44 and also dismissed Armaan Jaffer later in the innings.