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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ranji Cricket puriyuma ? ~ Services through to Semis

Cricket is great entertainment and many of us follow so much of the game. Anbe Vaa, the movie starring M. G. Ramachandran and Saroja Devi released in 1966  had the Q ‘Test match puriyuma ?’ ~ do you understand Test match, which at that time was considered to be understood only  by elites. As years passed by came Oneday Internationals and T20s.  At domestic turf, the Ranji Trophy is the premier first-class cricket championship played in India.  It is named after Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji (Jam Sahib of Nawanagar, also known as "Ranji"). Even ardent followers could be stumped by a naïve Q as to who or which are the teams that  play Ranji ?

You might tend to say that it is match played between States…….. but then there are some regions within a State – Vidarbha & Saurashtra; some cities – Mumbai, Baroda and Hyderabad; then there is Delhi which played even when it was a UT and there are two other teams – Railways and Services !!

Initially, the matches were within Zones ~ Tamil Nadu would play – Kerala, Andhra, Hyderabad, Karnataka and Goa…. !! then the format was amended into Elites and plate winners…….  The tournaments are well held, closely followed and performance in Ranji counts……. the greatest of Cricket, Sachin Tendulkar is now turning up for Mumbai and scored yet another century too. But there would be no explanation for the fact that the highest run getter in Ranji history – Amol Muzumdar (10217) and the highest wicket taker – left arm spinner Rajinder Goel (640) never represented the Nation.

Services are now the first team to qualify for the Semi finals this year beating the much fancied Uttar Pradesh by 5 wickets.  The reports hail Services captain Soumik Chatterjee  for batting bravely with an injured leg and winning the match.  Soumik Chatterjee, the Services captain,  was unable to walk with a badly injured left knee, still dragged himself out at 54 for 5 in a chase of 113. He went on to pull the rampaging Uttar Pradesh fast bowlers for fours and sixes. He hopped on one good leg from one end of the pitch to the other for several singles. Fittingly, he stepped out to loft Ali Murtaza over mid-on to end the match. Uttar Pradesh, the best side of the Ranji league stage, had been beaten by the promoted toppers from a humble Group C before tea on the third afternoon of the five-day quarter-final.  That Services chased a low score was facilitated by fast bowler Suraj Yadav, with a career-best haul of 7 for 71 in UP's second innings.

A couple of years ago, there was clash between National interests and BCCI and you know which won……   The BCCI barred the Services team from taking any further part in the 2009-10 Ranji Trophy season after it refused to play its opening Ranji Trophy game against Jammu and Kashmir in Srinagar. The team, which is controlled by India's defence ministry, opted out of the Plate division game and did not travel to the city.

P Chidambaram, the then  home minister, asked the BCCI to allot fresh dates for the match and accept an apology from the team, claiming that their absence at the venue early that day was due to an administrative slip-up. BCCI responded that  the decision was based on the Indian board's rules and regulations governing domestic cricket and cannot be changed.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
9th Jan 2013.


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  2. Dear Sir,

    there is a typo - Anbe Vaa was released in 1966.

    Thamarai kannan

  3. Dear Thamarai Kannan

    Thanks.. have corrected the same now..

    Rgds - Sampath