‘Is the importance of playing Ranji finals zero?’ – Sheldon Jackson lashes out

Sheldon Jackson has questioned India’s selectors over the absence of players from his domestic side Saurashtra in the recent India A squads.

In a series of tweets, the middle-order batsman said it was inexplicable that despite Saurashtra’s three Ranji Trophy finals appearances since 2012-13 – including last season – no players from the team were picked for ‘A’ squads, and wondered whether the selectors attached any importance to the feat.

Jackson, 32, was part of the Saurashtra team that reached the Ranji Trophy 2018-19 final too, where they lost to Vidarbha in a tightly contested game. He was Saurashtra’s leading run-scorer in the season, with 854 runs in 11 matches at an average of 47.44. His tally was the fifth-highest among the Elite teams, comprising Groups A, B and C.

However, he wasn’t selected in the squads for the ongoing Duleep Trophy. While team-mates Dharmendrasinh Jadeja and Jaydev Unadkat are part of Duleep Trophy, and playing in the final, neither of them was selected in the squads that will face South Africa A in two unofficial Tests later this month.

Wicketkeeper Snell Patel was the other Saurashtra player included in the Duleep Trophy.

Jadeja and Unadkat both had standout seasons in 2018-19. Jadeja took 59 wickets, at an average of 27.16, to top the wicket-takers’ charts among the Elite teams. In addition, he also scored 277 runs at an average of 21.30, and struck two half-centuries.

Unadkat, who had also assumed captaincy midway through the season when Jaydev Shah retired, spearheaded the attack with 39 wickets at an average of 17.17. His returns with the bat were modest, but included a vital 46 from No. 10 in the final.

Unadkat last played for India A in the longer format in 2013, while Jadeja has never represented India A.

Jackson has played one game for India A in four-day matches and been part of the Duleep Trophy only once, in 2016-17, when he ended the tournament with 368 runs in five innings at an average of 122.66. His last appearance for India A in a 50-over match was in a warm-up game against an England XI in January 2017, when he scored 59 off 56 as the entire top order came good to chase down 283 in less than 40 overs.

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