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Monday, January 1, 2018

Rajneesh Gurbani hat-trick for Vidarbha; emulates TN bowler who debuted for Kerala

The Ranji trophy finals is on between Delhi and Vidarbha.  The trophy is mostly won by Bombay and then by Karnataka and Delhi ~ that way we all support Vidarbha to win the trophy. .. … ….

Are you the one, following the matches or at least reading about these matches. This morning saw Delhi’s Saini bowling a good pace.  Before you read further, way back in Nov 1966 (were you born that time ??) there was this drawn match between Hyderabad and Kerala.  A few years later in the finals held at MA Chidambaram stadium in 1973, 27 wickets fell on the second day and the  match ended on the first ball of the third day.  Those who follow TN Cricket would rue that match for ever and would remember this bespectacled cricketer who played Jolly rovers for many years .. .. .. and remember that the fan base fro those clubs of 1st division was akin to what IPL teams like CSK, KKR, MI have .. !

For the not so well informed, the Ranji Competition began before Independence in 1934-35 – our own State, Tamil Nadu was victorious  at Indore in 1955 defeating Holkar. Holkar put Madras in;  Madras made 478 with CD Gopinath making 133.  Holkar were all out for 417.  Madras made 311 in its second innings with Kripal Singh scoring 91.   Balu Alaganan was the Captain and the victory margin was 46 runs.  Tamil Nadu had to wait for another 15 years and .. .. more thereafter. In  Mar 1988, Tamilnadu defeated Railways by an innings and 144 runs to win the Trophy.  This time they were lead by suave S Vasudevan, a great left arm bowler and a capable batsman.  The great team player he was – Vasudevan is often quoted for his simple life despite his significant achievements and longevity. He took over 200 wickets in Ranji partnering another great Srinivasan Venkatraghavan.  In  Jan 1980, he played for South Zone against touring Pakistanis and took the wickets of Zaheer, Imran and Mudassar – creditable achievement at that.  Unfortunately, he never played for the Zonal team even again.

Now Vidarbha has a great chance to have a fling at the title.  I had posted recently on Vidarbha with some history of Berar Province tracing it to the  viceroyalty of Lord Curzon when Berar was permanently ceded to the British by the Nizam.  Berar Province, formerly ruled by the Nizam of Hyderabad, was administered by the British after 1853, although the Nizam retained formal sovereignty over the province.  Later it became part of Vidarbha, the  eastern region of the state of Maharashtra, comprising Nagpur Division and Amravati Division.    The largest city in Vidarbha is Nagpur  famous for growing oranges and cotton.  The living conditions of farmers in this region are poor compared to India as a whole. There have been farmers' suicides and economic turmoil.   Nagpur lies precisely at the center of the country with the Zero Mile Marker indicating the geographical center of India.

In the finals of Ranji, on day 1 – Delhi were 271/6 – Dhruv Shorey unbeaten on 123.  There could be times, when a first time finalist is nervous and feels happy in having come up to such a stage.  With the  Delhi's No. 3 scoring a century, the position appeared that Delhi would consolidate further and threaten with  a big first innings score. 


The hero of their semi final match against Karnataka, Rajneesh Gurbani, though, did not bowl with as much precision and preferred shorter deliveries early on. This morning proved to be different.  The right-arm medium fast bowler clean bowled Vikas Mishra and Navdeep Saini in his 23rd over in the last two deliveries. Returning to bowl for his 24th over, he again rattled Dhruv Shorey’s stumps in the first ball to take his maiden first-class cricket hat-trick. Yes a hat-trick in the finals of the premier tournament and with his achievement, Gurbani became only the second bowler to take a hat-trick in Ranji Trophy Final after B Kalyanasundaram for Tamil Nadu against Bombay in 1972/73. Three balls after completing his hat-trick, Gurbani again rattled Kulwant Khejroliya’s stumps to end Delhi’s innings. He took 6 wickets in the match, as he had dismissed Rishabh Pant and Himmat Singh on the first day. The best bit about his efforts came from the fact that he suffered an ankle injury on Friday, which made him left the field in the middle of the over for 30 minutes.  So from a solid 290/6, Delhi were all out for 295 !   Gurbani had figures of : 24.4-8-59-6.

The man who debuted for Kerala, later performing so well for Tamil Nadu      is  B. Kalyanasundaram, who later became the selector for TNCA and got associated with Chennai Super Kings too.  The right arm medium pacer whom I watched bowled so well at Marina, was born in the temple town of Kumbakonam, in fact took ten wicket in his debut with 6/58 in the 2nd innings against Hyderabad.  He ended up close to 150 wickets and was a reliable performer. 

Now on that Ranji finals (18,19,20 Apr 1973) – TN fans would always feel bad for losing to Bombay by 123 runs, after bowling them out for 113 in their 2nd essay.  Kalyanasundaram returned magical figures of 6.3-2-8-4.    Bombay had a very formidable line-up : Sunil Gavaskar, Ramnath Parkar, Ajit Wadekar, Ashok Mankad, Sudhir Naik, Dilip Sardesai, Eknath Solkar and the great spinner Padmakar Shivalkar. For those interested, the team that represented Tamil Nadu was : PK Belliappa (keeper); R Mirza, Michael Dalvi, Abdul Jabbar, P Mukund, AG Satwender Singh, LJ Edmonds, Srinivas Venkatraghavan (Capt), R Prabhakar, B Kalyanasundaram and VV Kumar.  The team scored 80 & 61. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30th Dec 2017.



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