The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy ended this week, with Dinesh Karthik’s Tamil Nadu clinching the title after beating Baroda in the finals. India’s domestic T20 tournament has thrown up some big stars over the last few seasons, and this edition was no different. With last ball finishes, hundreds and five wicket hauls, this year’s tournament had plenty of action on offer as domestic cricket returned back to India after the pandemic.
We take a look at five players who had a huge role to play in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament this year, and impressed us with their skills and temperament. These domestic stars could be on the wish list of a number of IPL teams who will be looking to plug the holes in their squad ahead of the 14th edition of the tournament. The IPL auctions is scheduled for February 18, and we expect the following players to attract high bids:
Kedar Devdhar (Baroda)
The player took over the captaincy of the team midway through the season after regular skipper Krunal Pandya left the side due to the demise of his father. Kedar Devdhar, however, did not let the pressure affect him as he impressed all with his batting skills and his man management abilities throughout the edition. The 31-year old player led the side from the front and guided Baroda into the finals, scoring 349 runs in 8 innings with a high score of an unbeaten 99. He ended the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy this year as the second highest run-scorer.
What stood out throughout the tourney was Devdhar’s ability to adapt to the situation and adjust his game accordingly. He smashed an unbeaten 99 against Maharashtra in just 71 balls with the help of four sixes, and curtailed his aggressive style against Chandigarh, stroking 44 in 41 balls to help his side over the line. Devdhar has played one IPL game in his career, for Deccan Chargers, but did not bat.
Teams that might be interested: Royal Challengers Bangalore, Chennai Super Kings
Avi Barot (Saurashtra)
The wicket keeper from Saurashtra made headlines after his whirlwind knock of 122 in just 53 balls against Goa in the T20 league this season. The Under-19 Indian cricketer of the year in 2011, played just five games in this year’s Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, but ended as the fourth highest run scorer, with knocks of 93 and 122 to his name. His strike rate of 184.96 stood out, and he could be much sought after by teams who are eagerly on the lookout for an aggressive batsman lower down the order. His wicket keeping skills is an added bonus, and we expect him to find an IPL team for 2021.
Teams that might be interested: Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore
Shahrukh Khan (Tamil Nadu)
Shahrukh Khan, named after the Bollywood superstar, batted only on four occasions in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy nut he had a huge role to play in Tamil Nadu’s victorious campaign. He played crucial knocks every time an opportunity presented itself, and though he just ended with a high score of an unbeaten 40 in the tournament, he proved to be the X-factor.
Batting at numbers 5, 6 or 7 through the edition, Khan started off proceedings with a quick 12 in just 4 balls and then followed it up with an unbeaten knock of 18 in 10 deliveries against Odisha. He helped his side over the line in the quarters with a fine 40 in 19 balls when Tamil Nadu were struggling at 66 for 5 in 13 overs while chasing 135. He had a role to play in the finals as well, hitting a 7-ball 18* to help his team to the second Syed Mushtaq Ali title.
The 25-year old displayed his mettle in pressure situations, and it would be a surprise if he is not picked up in the IPL auctions 2021.
Teams that might be interested: Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers Hyderabad
Ashutosh Aman (Bihar)
The Bihar spinner, who has been a consistent performer in domestic cricket over the last few years, has proven that left arm orthodox spin bowling will never go out of style even as wrist spinners continue to reign. Aman is known for his variations and his accuracy, which was on display in the recent edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, where he ended with 16 wickets – the most by any bowler – at an average of 7.62 and an economy rate of just 5.08.
The 34-year old picked up two four wicket hauls in the league as well, to spearhead the bowling attack for his team Bihar. His experience along with his sensational bowling could be in huge demand for teams that will be playing a majority of their games on low and slow wickets in the IPL.
Teams that might be interested: Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals
Chetan Sakariya (Saurashtra)
The fast bowler ended the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with 12 scalps in 5 games, including a 5-wicket haul against Vidarbha. The Saurashtra cricketer had an economy rate of just 4.90 throughout the edition, which is impressive considering the fact that he primarily bowled with the new ball and at the death. He also sent down as many as 65 dot balls, which is evidence of how tough it was to face Sakariya, and finished with a strike rate of just 10.
With a dearth of quality left arm swing bowlers in India, it should not come as a surprise if an IPL team picks him ahead of the 2021 edition. Previously Sakariya has been with Royal Challengers Bangalore as a net bowler.
Teams that might be interested: Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals