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Tuesday, February 22, 2022

some history, some Ranji - some Cricket !!!

Recently, Bihar's Sakibul Gani, created a world record by becoming the first batsman in the world to score a triple century on first-class debut. Gani scored  341 runs from 405 balls in Ranji Trophy against Mizoram.


Are you a Cricket fan and when did you watch a Ranji Trophy match last, that too in the ground ?  .. .. in 1970/1980s we used to go to Chepauk regularly watching the exploits of B Kalyanasundaram, VV Kumar, S Venkatraghavan, TE Srinivasan,  V Sivaramakrishnan, CS Sureshkumar, Abdul Jabbar, Krish Srikkanth, WV Raman, L Sivaramakrishnan, TA Sekhar, Barath Reddy . .. .. as also stars from visiting teams like – Gundappa Viswanath, Roger Binny, Prasanna, Chandra, Raguram Bhat .. .. .. and more .. .. and do you remember Saxena. In Jan 2012, in Ranji finals, Goan born Vineet Ashokkumar Saxena playing for Rajasthan scored 257 ! 

IPL Auctions were very interesting and was a big money game .. .. so many players won lucrative contracts.  Avesh Khan is going through one of the best phases of his career currently. With an India cap knocking on the doors, the lanky fast bowler shattered records in the recently-concluded IPL auction 2022 in Bengaluru, becoming the most expensive uncapped cricketer in the history of IPL auctions when Lucknow Super Giants acquired him for a whopping Rs 10 crore. There has to be other side of the story as well – a legend, Chinna thala Suresh Raina went unsold – CSK did not bid for him !! 

Sooner we will be engrossed in the action of IPL 15 – now sponsored by Tata and hence TATA IPL 2022 with ten teams playing.  

Simply put, Ranji Trophy is contested by teams from States (there are exceptions Mumbai, Hyderabad ! – Services, Railways !)  . .. .. and ages ago Holkar too played. Malhar Rao Holkar (1693 – 1766)  was a noble subedar of the Maratha Empire.    One of the foremost commanders of the Maratha Empire (1760), he participated in the great victory in the Battle of Delhi (1737), and the defeat of the Nizam in the Battle of Bhopal. He was also part of the campaign that wrested Vasai from the Portuguese in 1739.  From 1748 onwards, Malhar Rao Holkar's position in Malwa became firm and secur

In Nov 2012, at Ahmedabad, India beat England by 9 wickets.  Nick Compton made his debut.  Nicholas Richard Denis Compton, born in Durban, Natal, South Africa is grandson of   legendary DenisCompton.

Gone are those days, whence -   domestic cricket tournaments like Duleep Trophy, Ranji Trophy, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Irani Cup, Challenger Trophy and others helped the selectors pick new players. It is era of IPL and there can be 4 overseas players for a side in a match.  There have been some foreign players in Ranji istory too.   Dennis Compton too played in Ranji !  - he made his debut at 19 scored 65 against NZ at Oval and sooner scored his maiden test century against Don Bradman’s team at Trent Bridge.  Compton played 78 Tests over a 20-year period and ended with 5807 runs, often scored with breathtaking attacking batting with a very impressive average of 50.06.  Those were the period rocked by World Wars and his career too had a gap of 7 years between 1939 and 1946 because of war and injury   sustained while playing for Arsenal and later the Second World War during which he served in India on British Army duty as a Sergeant Major.  He played for Holkar in Ranji.   Compton played three Ranji Trophy matches and 7 other games during his stint in India between 1944 and 1946. In the 10 matches, he scored over 1300 runs at an average of 87, which included 7 centuries. He resumed his Test career in England in 1946, coincidentally in a series against India (was dismissed for a first ball duck by Lala Amarnath) and went on to score runs in plenty in international cricket to cement his name among the all-time cricket greats. 

The news is Ranji trophy would be back now with revised rules in tune with Covid times.  Nine players can constitute a team in the eventuality of a medical emergency in Ranji Trophy this season, BCCI has announced in a list of guidelines formulated in view of the COVID-19 situation in the country. The norm, though, is applicable only after a match has begun and the team is exhausted of like-for-like replacements.

The board is taking all precautions to conduct the premier first-class tournament that begins on February 17 after a two-year pandemic-induced layoff. “Due to COVID outbreak within a team after the start of the match, if the team has a minimum of nine players available to take the field (after utilising all the replacements), then the match will continue,” the board stated in a circular issued on Tuesday.The board has not stopped their planning at that. In case a team is unable to field even nine players after the match has started, it has laid down a set of parameters to decide the game’s outcome. “In the league stage, points will be awarded to the teams based on points table. During knockout games, qualification for the next round will be determined by a higher run quotient or spin of the coin.” the circular explained.

The match referee would decide on a team’s request for a like-for-like replacement. He would evaluate whether the replacement furnishes an undue advantage to his team. If he believes that the replacement would excessively benefit the team, “he may impose such conditions upon the identity and involvement of the COVID-19 replacement as he/she sees fit, in line with the overriding objective of facilitating a like-for-like replacement for the relevant player.” That is, a referee could decide the role of the player.

Another fresh guideline was that bowlers can’t tape their bowling hand. “The bowler has to remove all kinds of taping from his bowling hand if he wants to bowl. This is non-negotiable. If any plaster is worn on the back of their bowling hand it must be flesh coloured or thereabouts, which will not distract the batsman,” add the circular.

Before concluding, some of the foreign players who have played Ranji would include – Vikram Solanki and Kabir Ali, both played for Rajasthan. Another English player, Nayan Doshi - son of former India spinner Dilip Doshi - turned out in the Ranji Trophy for Saurashtra for four seasons between 2001 and 2005. 

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th Feb 2022. 

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