A.GULATI10th September is the birth anniversary of great cricketer
Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji Maharaja Jam Sahib of Nawanagarpopularly known as Ranji. The domestic cricket championship in India played every year – Ranji Trophy is named after him. The legendary cricketer never played for India but he had the distinction of being first Indian test cricketer. He represented England in test cricket. He represented England in 15 Tests scored 989 runs at an average of 44.95 runs per innings. He also scored two centuries including one in debut test.
Ranji was born on 10th September 1872 at Sarodar,a small village into Western province of Kathiawad near Jamnagar. At the age when when he was only 8 he was send to Rajkumar College well known school in Saurashtra. It was here Ranji was introduced to the world of cricket and when he died in 1933 he was considered a genius cricketer. He combined educational skills and cricketing skills and joined St. Faith’s Cambridge. Later he became regular player of Trinity college team.
In 1895 Ranji was in full form. He was scoring plethora of runs. It is first match against MCC at Lords playing for Surrey Ranji went on to score unbeaten 77 and 150, captured 6 wickets and held two catches. It was in 1896 when Ranji was expected to be inducted to the English test team against Australia for the Lords test, county selectors did not favour him for any role in the Test team.
The second test match was played at Old Trafford where Ranji made his test debut. Australia scored 412 runs. England started disastrously losing some quick wickets. Batting at number three in the batting order, Ranji was caught by Trott off the bowling of Mckibbin after scoring 62 runs. England finished their first innings behind Australia’s first innings score by 181 runs. Australia enforced follow on. Ranji converted the occasion into a big opportunity and went on to score unbeaten 154 compiled 190 minutes with the help of 23 boundaries. Ranji became the first Indian to play test cricket. He also became the secondbatsman after W.G. Grace to score a century on his maiden appearance in test cricket. Though England could not win this match Ranji established himself as a cricketer of ameliorated skills.. The Bible of cricket Wisden named him cricketer of the year. His batting was described as ‘poem of action’. In his first class cricket career Ranji played 500 innings, not out on 62 occasions and scored 24692 runs at an average of 56.37. He hit 72 centuries. Another achievement of Ranji was that he brought elegance to the game of cricket. He is considered to be the inventor of most delicate scoring shot in cricket called ‘leg glance’. The beauty of the shot has not faded till date. Ranji was considered a powerful driver of the ball in the field. On social front Ranji was charming and amusing. His sense of humor was also very good. His oratory skills war equally charming. In the later part of his life he was confronted with many health problems. In 1915 he met with an unfortunate accident and was hit in the right eye from which he he could not manage recovery. He had frequent attacks of asthma and bronchitis. Ranji breathed his last in Jamnagar at 5 o’clock in the morning on 2nd of April 1933. He death robbed the cricketing world of the talent of elegant cricketer, a charming personality and a person who entered the record books for India despite the fact that he did not play for India.. In India every year domestic Cricket tournament played throughout the country is named after this legendary cricketer Ranji. Ranji Trophy every year reminds the youth of the country that the delicacy and charm with which Ranji played is the real flavor of cricket