Tamil Nadu won the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy this year. They beat Baroda in the final by seven wickets. The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy is named after Syed Mushtaq Ali, the first Indian batsman to score a century in a foreign country. He accomplished this feat against England in 1936 at Old Trafford.
Tamil Nadu was placed in group B in the tournament. Apart from Tamil Nadu, the group also had Bengal, Jharkhand, Assam, Hyderabad, and Odisha. Tamil Nadu was the most successful team in their group as well as in the tournament. They won all five league matches. They defeated Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan in the quarter-final and semi-final of the series, respectively.
It was the first series in India since the pandemic. The tournament was a pilot project from BCCI. The successful organization of SMAT is a hint that IPL will also be hosted in India only.
The mini-auction for this year’s IPL is scheduled for 18th February. The teams have already issued a list of players retained and released for this season. The trade window is open till 11th February. On 13th February, an official list of players who will make themselves available for the auction will be released.
We are trying to look at five batsmen who performed stupendously well in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and can go big in the auction.
1. Avi Barot
The right-hand opening batsman from Saurashtra was the highest run-getter for his team. He scored 283 in five matches at an average of 56.6. During the second match of the tournament, he scored 93 runs off 44 deliveries against Vidarbha. In the next game, he scored 122 runs off 53 balls against Goa.
He hit 32 fours during the series and was second on the list of players who hit the maximum number of fours.
Both RCB and RR will be looking to add few backup openers to their team, and Barot can be a good option for them.
2. Puneet Bisht
He was a part of the Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) team in 2012. The right-handed batsman and wicket-keeper played for Delhi till 2018 before he shifted his base to Meghalaya.
He was the leading run-scorer for Meghalaya in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and Ranji Trophy in the 2018-19 season. In SMAT, he scored 146 runs in just 51 balls against Mizoram.
He hit the most number of sixes (17) by an Indian batsman in T20 in that innings of 146 runs. It was also the second-highest score by a batsman in the history of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Delhi Capitals released Alex Carey last month. They will be looking to add a wicket-keeper to the team. Puneet Bisht can be the perfect buy for them.
3. Mohammed Azharuddeen
The right-handed batsman and wicket-keeper came into the limelight after he became the first player from Kerala to score a hundred in T20.
He scored 137 runs off 54 balls against Mumbai in the SMAT. After this innings, a photo of his bucket list went viral on the internet. The first wish on that list was of playing in IPL.
His power-hitting style of batting can be handy for any franchise. Without a doubt, a few of the franchises will be looking to add him to their team.
Sanju Samson was the captain of Kerala’s team in SMAT. Recently, he was also appointed the captain of Rajasthan Royals. Also, Rajasthan Royals will be looking to add few openers to the team. Azharuddeen should be their first choice.
4. Shahrukh Khan
The right-handed batsman was the man behind Tamil Nadu’s win in the quarter-final of the tournament. He came in to bat at the number 7 position in the match against Himachal Pradesh.
He hit 40 runs off 19 balls and sealed the game for Tamil Nadu along with Baba Aparajith.
According to his recent statements, he was shortlisted for trials with Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders.
The 25-year-old batsman made his T20 debut back in 2014. He was also once a part of Tamil Nadu’s squad for the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
5. Vishnu Solanki
The right-handed batsman from Baroda was the highest run-getter for his team. He made 267 runs in 8 matches with an average of 53.40.
Apart from some initial matches, he was always the man behind Baroda’s success. Baroda didn’t lose a single game during the league stage and played the final against Tamil Nadu.
He made 71 runs off 46 balls in the quarter-final. He was the highest scorer in the final game of the tournament.
Solanki displayed a solid understanding of the game. He shifted gears at the right time and was able to finish some games for his team.
He can be a good addition to CSK, where he would be able to play the role of a finisher.