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Saturday, November 24, 2012

the 100th Match ~ how much of recognition one gets - Devendra Bundela

               Cricket of course is the game of fame in India – there is big money.  Present day children feel parental pressure ~ most want their ward to come first in the class ~ at the same time learn more arts and put them in Sports camps.  City grounds are abuzz with children whose parents aspire making their son become a Sachin.

As you would know, the BCCI now has a contract system – there are grades A, B & C.  9 players who are in Grade A now get a Crore each per year, irrespective of whether they get selected to play for the Nation or not; Grade B players get Rs.50 lakh and those in Grade C get Rs.25 lakhs.  

At Wankhede, it was Test no. 100 for the swashbuckler Virender Sehwag ~ some expected him to celebrate it with a hundred in his hundredth Test; he could not emulate the feat of Colin Cowdrey, Javed Miandad, Gordon Greenidge, Alec Stewart, Inzamam-ul Haq, Ricky Ponting and Graeme Smith  but was out at 30.  Rahul Dravid and Vengsarkar had had forgettable matches on their 100th outing.

The centurion, who continued his fine form – Cheteshwar Pujara had nerve-wracking moment.  In over no. 74, Greame Swann bowled to Pujara at 94* ~ the third ball, PUjara went for a pull and English players appealed for a catch at midwicket coming off a rebound of shortleg.  Replays showed that the ball first hit the ground before ricocheting off the boots of the fielder at shortleg.

While the 100th appearance of Nawab of Najafgarh is so written, another 100th appearance went almost unheralded – a feat performed before the empty stands at Indore.  That was Devendra Bundela playing his 100th Ranji match turning out for Madhya Pradesh against Bengal.  There are around 25 cricketers who have achieved this feat and hence still is very creditable.  For Bundela, featuring in 100 Ranji games, forr his home state Madhya Pradesh, is one of the biggest feats in his cricketing sojourn that started when he was 12, in Ujjain. Having featured in an ODI for India U-19 in Australia in March 1995, Bundela was included in MP's Ranji squad at the start of the next season and debuted  against Tamil Nadu in Indore.

He may never don the Indian cap but frankly accepts his limitations stating that it is more important to play the game rather than dreaming of playing for the Nation !   The love for the game motivates such players.  Bundela is quoted as saying Vengsarkar appreciating him after a 100 and beating Mumbai in Mumbai are the two most memorable events in his life.  

India has a well organized structure.  Ranji forms the basic foundation for players and serves as a good platform providing opportunity to players from all the States to claim National reckoning.  

Still, the no. 1 in runs aggregate in Ranji,  Wasim Jaffer played with limited success and the no. 2 & 3 – Amol Mazumdar [8237 runs] and Amarjit Kaypee [7623] never got a chance to play for India.  Ajay Sharma who briefly played for India head the no. of century list with 31; followed by Jaffer 29; Amarjit Kaypee 27.

Of the bowlers, the highest wicket taker left arm spinner  Rajinder Goel who took 637 never played for India; 2nd in the list is Srinivasaraghavan Venkatraghavan with 530; Sunil Joshi, Narendra Hirwani and Bhagwat Chandrasekhar have all taken more than 400 Ranji wickets.

Amol Mazumdar tops the list with 126 matches; Rajinder goel, Sairaj Bahutule, Sanjay Bangar, Y Goud, Sunil Joshi, Pankaj Dharmani, Ashok Malhotra, Kaypee, S Sharath, Madanlal, Kirmani, Sarkar Talwar are among the host of others who have played more than 100 Ranji matches.  You may not have heard some of them and many of them did not get the recognition nor earn in tune with what they did for the game

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
24th Nov. 2012.

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