Courtesy of their win over South Africa A in the final at Pretoria, India A registered their fifth consecutive ODI series win. Under the stewardship of Rahul Dravid, the side have flown under the radar but shown that there is plenty of strength in depth for India.
While the likes of Axar Patel, Karun Nair and Rishabh Pant, who've already featured for India, all featured in the series, there were some exceptional performers by the Indian players. Some of whom have already featured for India, others have been on the fringes, while some are just looking to break in.
With the selection of the squad for the ODI series against Sri Lanka just around the corner, some of these players have certainly strengthened their case of getting drafted in. Here are the top five performers for India from the Tri-series:
#5 Shardul Thakur
The eternal bridesmaid of the Indian side has to be Shardul Thakur. The 25-year-old fast bowler has been around the fringes of the Indian Test squad since 2015 but such has been the strength in depth, in the fast bowling department that he hasn't had a chance just yet.
A consistent performer in the domestic circuit and the A series as well, Thakur showed once again just why India's fast bowling ranks look so strong as he was India's leading wicket-taker in the tri-series that they won. Only Aaron Phangiso picked up more wickets than him in the series, he also finished with three crucial wickets in the final to restrict the hosts to 267.
The fact that he doesn't bowl in the high 140s has in some ways, gone against him, as he has been constantly overlooked. But throughout the Tri-series, he showed exceptional control and finished it with 9 wickets from matches at an average of just over 14 and economy rate under 4.5.
#4 Siddarth Kaul
On the back of an impressive IPL campaign with the Sunrisers Hyderabad, where he showed exceptional control, especially at the death overs, Siddarth Kaul was drafted into the India A side. It was both a reward for the exceptional performances in the IPL and also a sign that
He picked up at least a wicket in every match of the Tri-series and finished with eight wickets from four matches, only two bowlers picked up more. In the final against South Africa A, when Manish Pandey won the toss and elected to bowl, it was Kaul who ensured that they got off to the perfect start as he dismissed both openers.
The 27-year-old has been around for a while but this might just be the break he was looking for as he aims to claim his maiden India call-up. While the limited-overs leg of the Sri Lanka tour might be a little early, you can never rule anything out and Kaul is certainly doing everything he can to earn a spot in the side.
#3 Shreyas Iyer
Consistent performances in the domestic circuit have earned Shreyas Iyer a great reputation but he still hasn't been able to leverage that into a call-up for the Indian side. But his unbeaten century in the final against South Africa A, was proof, if needed that the youngster has all the essential qualities to perform at the highest level for India.
Although he didn't have a great tournament until the final, Iyer showed that when it mattered the most, he was capable of making the step up and get the job done.
With over 200 runs to his name, he finished the third-leading run-getter in the tournament and performances like the one against a bowling line-up that featured several South Africa internationals only stands him in good stead as he hopes to make the national cut.
#2 Vijay Shankar
The success of Hardik Pandya, who has risen through the ranks courtesy of his domestic performances to become an integral part of the India side across all formats should certainly serve as a huge inspiration for Vijay Shankar. The 26-year-old all-rounder from Tamil Nadu showcased his all-round credentials in the Tri-series where he impressed with both bat and ball.
Injuries have hampered his progress but his performances in the Tri-series showed that he still has what it takes to feature for India. The all-rounder scored a crucial fifty and stitched an important partnership with Shreyas Iyer that helped India claim the title.
In the four matches, he finished with an average of 45 and picked up five wickets at an economy rate of just over 4 as he provided the ideal balance to the side and showcased impeccable control with both bat and ball. A few more performances like this one and he will be back on the national selectors' radars before too long.
#1 Manish Pandey
Manish Pandey has had a rollercoaster ride for the senior side ever since he made his ODI debut. He has scored a match-winning century against Australia away from home and then poor form led to him being dropped from the Indian ODI squad after the series against New Zealand in 2016.
For the A side, however, he has been in sublime form. In the recently-concluded Tri-series against South Africa and Afghanistan, where he captained the side, Pandey showed just why he is so highly regarded and is still on the fringes of national selection despite some poor form last year.
The 27-year-old finished as the leading run-getter in the series and was the only player to score more than 300 runs in the series. In 5 matches, he finished with 307 runs, scored three fifties and was dismissed just once as he led India A to their fifth consecutive ODI series win.
His impressive form might just prompt the selectors to give him a recall for the upcoming ODI series against Sri Lanka.
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