Ranji Trophy 2018-19: 3 batsmen who have gone off the selector's radar due to an underperforming season
Despite the emergence of the Indian Premier League as the gateway to the Indian team, the Ranji Trophy is still considered as the No.1 platform for players to perform and get selected in the national squad. The likes of Mayank Agarwal and Hanuma Vihari got selected in the Indian team based on their performances in the Ranji Trophy only and their success on the biggest stage reiterates the standard of India's premier domestic tournament.
However, similar to the IPL, the level of competition is high in the Ranji Trophy too and it is required for a player to perform consistently for at least 2 to 3 seasons to get a chance with the Indian team. Although it is a different struggle for a player to prove himself once he gets his opportunity with the national squad, it is a monumental task in itself to make his debut for the country.
A few players who have been performing well in the past few seasons were well on course to making an appearance for India. However, a poor record in the recently-concluded Ranji Trophy has reduced their chances to make it to the national squad. They are down the pecking order and will need to start performing well again to get back on the radar of the national selectors.
#3 Ravikumar Samarth
With the likes of KL Rahul, Manish Pandey and Karun Nair not being a consistent part of the Karnataka setup in the past few seasons, Samarth had made a name for himself as a reliable batsman. Although he was overshadowed by Mayank Agarwal's brilliance in the previous season, Samarth showed that he was ready for the biggest stage.
He has been a regular starter in various List A squads and looked set to follow his statemates to the Indian squad. However, Samarth has been disappointing with the bat this season and many of the youngsters in the squad overtook him as the team's leading run-scorer. He had injury issues too and with an underwhelming performance this season, he will need to put in the hard yards again to get back into the selector's radar.
#2 Sanju Samson
The 24-year-old from Kerala was considered as MS Dhoni's rightful successor after an impressive performance in the IPL and domestic cricket. The wicket-keeper batsman was also selected in the Indian squad but could not make an impact. Soon after the IPL last year, Samson lost an opportunity with India A squad as he failed to clear the Yo-Yo test. Hence, Samson was expected to make a strong comeback with a good Ranji season.
Despite Kerala's excellent run in the recently-concluded Ranji Trophy, the Rajasthan Royals player was unable to make an impact which was expected from a player of his caliber. He failed to score a century in this Ranji season and hence, ended the tournament on a disappointing note. The likes of Rishabh Pant and Ishaan Kishan have gone ahead of him in the race to be India's next wicket-keeper and a breakthrough IPL season can bring him back into contention.
#1 Axar Patel
Axar Patel was India's preferred choice for the left-hand all-rounder's slot a few months ago but Krunal Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja have now raced ahead of him. Axar has had a poor domestic season and has failed to make an impact with any of the squads he played for in the recent months. Left-arm spinners have flourished in this Ranji season but Axar has failed to take even a five-wicket haul in the decent amount of opportunities which he was given. Axar Patel has also been disappointing with the bat and has hence gone out of the selector's radar.
However, Axar will have a full IPL season to prove himself as he has moved to Delhi Capitals for the upcoming season. He is the only notable domestic all-rounder in the squad and will get ample opportunities to be back in contention to get selected in Team India.