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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Chattisgarh beats Mumbai in Vijay Hazare !!

When we grew up – Cricket was Ranji Trophy for the States, Deodhar / Duleep Trophy for the zones and Irani Cup between the winner of Ranji Vs Rest of India – there was also :Palayampatti shield for the 1st division in Chennai and .. MJ Gopalan Trophy between Ceylon and Tamil Nadu !.. .. life was interesting.

Now there is –‘Vijay Hazare Trophy’ , the Ranji One-Day Trophy, that was started in 2002–03 as a limited-overs cricket domestic competition involving state teams from the Ranji Trophy plates. It is named after the famous Indian cricketer Vijay Hazare.Tamil Nadu is the most successful team having won the trophy 5 times. Mumbai are the current champions(2018-19) who won their 3rd title beating Delhi in the finals. The  2019–20 Vijay Hazare Trophy, the 18th season is now on.  Vijay Hazare  captained India in 14 matches between 1951 and 1953. In India's 25th Test match, nearly 20 years after India achieved Test status, he led India to its first ever Test cricket win in 1951–52 against England at Madras, winning by an innings and eight runs in a match that began on the day that King George VI died.

The Panduvamshisdynasty  ruled the historical Mekala region in present-day Chhattisgarh state of India, during the 6th and the 7th centuries. The Panduvamshi kings, who were Shaivites, claimed descent from the legendary Pandavas and also claimed to be members of the lunar dynasty. DakshinaKosala  is a historical region of central India,  located in what is now Chhattisgarh and parts of western Odisha. At its greatest extent, it may have also included a part of the Vidarbha region in present-day Maharashtra. Its capitals at various times included Bhadravati, Sirpur (ancient Shripura), Tuman (ancient Tummana), and Ratanpur (ancient Ratnapura).

Chhattisgarh (Chhattīsgah,: Thirty-Six Forts) is one of the 28 states of India, located in the centre-east of the country. It is the ninth-largest state in India, with an area of 135,192 km2 (52,198 sq mi).  A resource-rich state, it is a source of electricity and steel for the country, accounting for 15% of the total steel produced. The state was formed on 1 Nov 2000 by partitioning ten Chhattisgarhi and six Gondi speaking southeastern districts of Madhya Pradesh. The capital city is Raipur.

Interestingly, Chattisgarh too has a Cricket team – it began only recently    playing in Indian domestic tournaments including the Ranji Trophy from the 2016–17 season. The team is managed by Chhattisgarh State Cricket Sangh which was granted the full-member status by the Board of Control for Cricket in India in February 2016. Its Ranji Trophy debut was  against Tripura in 2016, which they won easily.
Right from the early days, Bombay has produced great batsmen –AjitWadekar, Sunil Gavaskar, Ramnath Parkar, EknathSolkar, DilipVengsarkar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Vinod Kambli, Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma and many many more – their winning ways would look simple. Their batsmen would score huge scores and then bowlers would stifle out the opposition.
Sri Mahavishnu temple at Jhanghir, Chattisgarh

Four runs needed, four balls left. Chhattisgarh are on the verge of a historic first win against Mumbai. Tushar Deshpande, Mumbai's fastest bowler, has been smacked inside-out over cover for a boundary off the first ball. Ajay Mandal backs away to the second and lofts a full delivery over long-off for six. The equation has turned, from a seemingly tough 20 off seven balls. Mandal can see his team-mates jumping in excitement in the distance. Amandeep Khare, the senior partner, unbeaten on 117 at the other end, is quietly praying Mandal doesn't lose his mind now.Mandal listened to his senior partner and they took two. Now, with two runs needed and the field in, he chipped the ball over the infield and they completed the double. First-ever win for Chhattisgarh, over Vijay Hazare Trophy defending champions Mumbai. A side they kept hearing about. A side that would often be discussed in meetings.

Khare was part of the first-ever meeting when Chhattisgarh's Ranji Trophy squad was assembled three years ago. The then coach Sulakshan Kulkarni had brought with him a replica of the Ranji Trophy and asked his players to feel and touch it, and take pictures and post it. Now, he remembers that very moment as he plucks the stump out and runs towards the dressing room to celebrate. This isn't a title win, but the euphoria feels like one. "Alagwala high thayeh, log pagal ho gaye (This was a different kind of high, the guys went mad)," Khare says. It was really their hour of birth, beating such a big time – is an event, something that would be remembered for ever. 

A simple news trawl on Google about Khare gives you very little. He's 22 years old, plays for Chhattisgarh and isn't used to giving interviews. The fact is, he is the first player from Chhattisgarh proper to play for India at any level - he was part of the Under-19 World Cup team in 2016 - and has been part of the Duleep Trophy and the Deodhar Trophy since.Incredibly, Khare and Mandal came together when Chhattisgarh needed 96 off 58 balls. Khare wasn't thinking about the win yet, but wanted to take the game into the last three overs. He had the belief that even 40 runs could be scored off them. It's this belief, he says, that wasn't there earlier, not until a couple of years ago.

~ and as a friend of mine put it, somebody else  beating Mumbai too makes us feel happy .. .. and that has a strong intonation of the dominance Bombay has had on Cricket in India.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30th Sept. 2019

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