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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Ravi Ashwin named ICC Cricketer of Year - Karnataka skittled out for 88

Do you know or remember - Sujith Bijjahalli Somasundar ?    

During the present England Test Series, when Wriddhiman Saha was injured, many felt that Rishabh Pant could be the ideal replacement, a long prospect in the mould of Mahindersingh Dhoni – a great Ranji season – he  smashed two centuries and a triple century; at one point he was also the leading run-getter and smashing them at a strike rate of 150.34. yet some felt that making runs in Ranji easy and International cricket would be totally a different ball game !

Before we proceed further – Ravichandran Ashwin decorated and he richly deserves that.   Ashwin has claimed the top ICC awards for 2015-16, having been named the ICC Cricketer of the Year and the Test Cricketer of the Year. Ashwin is the third Indian, after Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, to win the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for Cricketer of the Year. Ashwin, currently the top-ranked Test bowler, had picked up 48 wickets and scored 336 runs in eight Tests during the ICC's voting period from September 2015 to 2016, in addition to 27 wickets in 19 T20Is. In 2016 alone, he picked up 72 wickets in 12 Tests and became the second-fastest bowler to 200 wickets during the Kanpur match against New Zealand. Overall in a magnificent run of bowling excellence, Ash has in 20 Tests had 133 wickets at an average of 19.41 – 15 five fors and 5 ten-wicket hauls.  .. to add he has been making runs, in fifties and centuries ! 

After Bombay who is undisputed in Ranji, next would be Delhi and Karnataka.  Being a neighbouring state, we have watched them play many a times in Ranji at Chepauk.  Have seen Gundappa Viswanath, Jayapraksh, Brijesh Patel, Roger Binny, Prasanna, Chandra, Vijaykrishna, Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad, Rahul Dravid, Dodda Ganesh, Anil KUmble and more … and more ..  . It was known as Mysore cricket team before the state of Mysore was officially renamed as Karnataka in 1973. It has won the Ranji Trophy eight times and has come second six times (including two runner-up positions for the earlier Mysore team). The team's home ground is the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.

Though it would be harsh to make a statement going by one match or rather a solitary innings, having Test stars KL Rahul (199) and Karun Nair 303* at Chepauk test – and a line up of Manish Pandey, A Mithun, Stuart Binny, C Gautam and R Vinaykumar – failed in the QF of Ranji at Visakhapatnam.  Ashwin Christ and Natarajan bowled them out for a paltry 88 in 37 overs.  It was Karnataka’s joint 2nd lowest total in Ranji in last decade. 
photo of Dinesh Karthik on SYMA Childfest 2002 stage
alongside Ms Shantha Sheela Nair and Ajay Ratnam cine

Wicketkeeper Batsman Dinesh Karthik, is playing his 100th  Ranji Trophy match; having made his debut in Ranji way back in 2002 – almost all his mates have retired and some are into coaching including the recently concluded Tamil Nadu Premier league.  He too was spoken off as possible replacement to Saha, but perhaps age was held against him. 

For those with keen memory – in Titan Cup in Oct 1996, SAchin Tendulkar opened with debutant Sujith Simasundar against South Africa.  The team had 6 from Karnataka – Sujith, Rahul Dravid, Javagal Srinath, Sunil Joshi, Anil Kumble and Venkatesh Prasad.   

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

23rd Dec 2016 @ 11: 08 pm.

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