It was a different J&K team playing Vijay Hazare Trophy 2022-23! They seemed unstoppable, beating big teams, topping the group and almost making it to the quarter-finals! While the whole team contributed, there were two men who stood out: opener Shubham Khajuria and all-rounder Auqib Nabi.
They played an instrumental part in helping J&K make it to the Vijay Hazare Trophy knockouts for the first time in history. Khajuria finished as the 11th-highest run-getter in the tournament with 456 runs to his name in 6 innings. The right-handed batter averaged 76 and struck at an impressive rate of 101.55.
Similarly, Auqib Nabi came 16th in the top wicket-takers, having 13 wickets in 8 matches at a meagre economy of 5.35 under his belt. The all-rounder also fired a few cameos with the bat.
While as in Ranji Trophy, if there was one player from the whole J&K squad who made an impression, it was all-rounder Abid Mushtaq. The left-arm spinner picked 32 wickets in 7 matches at a terrific average of 14.
The domestic season this year will kickstart with Duleep Trophy, a premier multi-day tourney, on June 28. The best performers from Ranji Trophy will be picked in their respective zonal teams, who will then compete with each other. And going by the figures, J&K’s Abid Mushtaq should feature in the North Zone squad.
Pertinently, in Deodhar Trophy, a One-Day tournament which will be played soon after Duleep Trophy (from 24 July), Shubham Khajuria and Auqib Nabi surely deserve to be picked in the North Zone team.
The usual practice is chief selectors/officials from each state association are invited to their respective zonal selection meeting to recommend players from their states for these tournaments. From J&K, if these three players didn’t make it to the squads, it will be a huge surprise.
Apart from these three, Yudhvir Singh, who also picked 13 wickets in 8 matches of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, could also be in contention. Abdul Samad also had a very good domestic season and might feature in either of the squads.