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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Navdeep Saini's INA connection ~ Ranji update !!

It cannot get bigger than this is the common refrain – but IPL keeps growing the 2018 IPL auction will be held on January 27 and 28, in Bangalore. The mega auction will coincide with the final two days of India's third Test on the tour of South Africa; Virat Kohli's team is scheduled to play the final Test of the South Africa tour from January 24-28 in Johannesburg.  It is read that IPL has asked all eight franchises to submit their final list of retained players by January 4. The IPL is likely to finalise the pool of players who will be up for auction around January 18.

Not many would have noticed him when Delhi Daredevils bought him for 10 lakhs – but many heads turned when Navdeep Saini managed to do what not many fast bowlers around the world can't: bounce-out David Warner.  In a tour match, the  Australian opener was sailing like he usually does at the top of the innings, racing to 25 in just 30 balls; the   two experienced India 'A' new ball bowlers – Ashoke Dinda and Hardik Pandya – were unable to trouble the left-hander even a little bit. But in the ninth over the day, Pandya threw the ball to a rather unheralded Saini. In just the fourth ball of his spell, the right-arm pacer banged one in at short of a length. It grew bigger on Warner than he would've expected, and the Australian top-edged the ball straight up in the air to wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan.

Indian history perhaps is to be taught far differently than what we read in history books as Gandhi winning freedom without spilling blood – that defies rightful place for many great freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives in pursuit of freedom for the Nation.  The Indian National Army (INA) was originally founded by Capt Mohan Singh in Singapore in September 1942 with Japan's Indian POWs . At the urging of their Japanese captors, almost 20,000 Indian prisoners-of-war had come together to form this army with the aim of freeing India from British colonial rule. Under the charismatic leadership of Subhas Chandra Bose, who led the INA from July 1943 until his sudden death in August 1945, the INA grew in strength and received significant support from the civilian Indian population in Malaya. After World War II, the British charged some of the captured INA soldiers with treason.

While the whole nation was engaged in the August movement, the struggle for independence was carried on by Subhash Chandra Bose outside the frontiers of India. Subhash Chandra Bose joined the non-cooperation Movement but was not satisfied with the principle of non-violence of Gandhiji and supported Motilal and C.R. Das in the venture of organising the Swarajist party. Subhash was appointed the Chief Executive officer of Calcutta by C.R. Das, the Mayore of Calcutta. The progressive activities of Subhash invited the displeasure of the Government and were deported to Mandalay. Subhash represented the young and extremist elements in the Congress. He was elected as the President of the Congress in 1938 and again in 1939. He could not make any compromise with Gandhi and thus resigned his President-ship and organized the famous Forward Block. In a romantic and daring journey changing names and looking different he proceeded from there to Moscow and finally reached Berlin in March 1941. Rash Behari Bose convened two conferences one at Tokyo in March, 1942 and the second in Bangkok in Jun 1942. The revolutionaries assembled in the conferences decided to form an Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauz) for the liberation of India from the British rule. In February 1943, Subhash left Germany from Kiel port in a Submarine. Through risk, suffering and untold hardship he finally reached Tokyo in June 1943. He held discussion with the Japanese authorities in the course of which the latter promised the independence of India after the war. From Tokyo he went to Singapore where he was warmly welcomed by Rash Behari and the latter handed over the leadership to Subhash.

For those of us following Ranji, it was a debacle as in  Nov 2017  Tamil Nadu ended it's campaign in this year's Ranji Trophy tournament by losing its final Group "C" match to Baroda by 102 runs. Requiring 233 for a win, the visiting team was all out for 130 in 65.5 overs.  TN finished poor in their Group "C": 1. Madhya Pradesh 21 points (qualified); 2.Mumbai 21 points (qualified); 3. Andhra Pradesh 19 points; 4. Baroda 16 points; 5. Tamil Nadu 11 points; 6. Odisha 6 points; 7. Tripura 4 points.

Other teams played grittily – there would be not much of a fight when the team is three down and trailing significantly in the second innings. On Tuesday in the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy, both semifinals had reached similar junctures. In Pune, Bengal had conceded a first-innings lead of 112 and lost their top three while still trailing by 77. In Kolkata, Vidarbha were 54 behind when they lost their top three. But from there, both teams took entirely different routes.

Bengal crumbled to 86 all out, as Delhi stormed into the final with victory by an innings and 26 runs. Vidarbha, on the other hand, lost just one more wicket, and scrapped hard to remain in contention for their maiden Ranji final. By the time play had wound down at Eden Gardens, Vidarbha had moved into a 79-run lead - marginal but enough to keep their dream alive.  Wasim Jaffar plays for Vidarbha now. 

On a day when fast bowlers on both the sides produced game-altering spells, it was Bengal's freefall with the bat that had them plummet to a defeat by an innings and 26 runs in Pune. After Mohammed Shami's 6 for 122 limited Delhi's lead to 112 runs, Delhi's bowlers shot the opposition out for 86 within 25 overs to book their team's spot in the final. Bengal's batting line-up was spliced open by Navdeep Saini and Kulwant Khejroliya, who relied as much on their red-hot pace as the batsmen's muddled thinking as they helped themselves to four wickets each. All of Saini's dismissals - Sudip Chatterjee, captain Manoj Tiwary, Aamir Gani and B Amit - were bowled. Saini knocked over Gani and Amit off successive deliveries that registered speeds of 140 kph and 144 kph respectively. He finished with seven wickets in the match.

With 29 wickets from seven games, Saini has been Delhi's second-highest wicket-taker so far this season, behind left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra. But, blockbuster showing in Ranji Trophy 2017-18 aside, he has been getting the attention of the national selectors for some time now, mainly for his ability to bowl at a sharp pace consistently. He provided a demonstration of that by frequently clocking speeds upwards of 140 kph in the semi-final - two such thunderbolts accounted for Aamir Gani and B Amit off successive deliveries.

Back home, one of Saini's biggest supporters is his "100-plus-year-old" grandfather Karam Singh, a war veteran whom he says had fought in Subhash Chandra Bose's Indian National Army (INA). "He used to be a driver in the INA," Saini said. "He is still remarkably fit and even rides a bicycle. He doesn't understand any cricket, but derives a lot of pleasure watching me play on TV. I am sure he would have been watching this game as well."

Interesting and all the best Saini !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

20th Dec 2017.

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