THE PROUD ‘CATCH’ OF GUJARAT: JAM RANJITSINHJI

Posted: November 18, 2011 in Icons, The NamoLeague Times
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KUMAR SHRI RANJITSINHJI, THE FIRST INDIAN TO PLAY TEST CRICKET, HAILED FROM OUR VERY OWN GUJARAT’S THEN PROVINCE OF ‘KATHIAWAR’

Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji Jadeja, popularly known as KS Ranjitsinhji or Ranji was regarded as one of the finest batsmen of all times. He was the Jamsaheb of Nawanagar and represented India on the League of Nations after the First World War in 1920. In 1932, he became the Chancellor of the Indian Chamber of Princes. He was knighted in 1917, 1919 and 1923. One of the greatest tributes to Ranjitsinhji is the National championship in India, Ranji Trophy that is named after him, though he never played for India. Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala initiated the tournament in the year 1935.

THE OPENING

Ranji was born on 10th September, 1872 at Sarodar in Gujarat. He belonged to a royal family and his clan, the Jadejas, was that of the Kshatriya rulers and warriors. Jadejas are said to be descendents of Lord Krishna.

He was educated at the Rajkumar College in Rajkot and then at the Trinity College, Cambridge University in 1891. Though Ranji could not gain the degree, he acquired a reputation in the field of cricket, wherein he had no experience of playing an organized game.

NET PRACTICE SESSIONS

He was named ‘Black Prince of the Cricketers’. Ranji started playing first-class cricket for the Cambridge University and gained a cricket ‘blue’ in 1893. Later, he moved on to play county cricket for Sussex, after he completed his academics. His first county match was at the Lord’s in May 1895. Then he scored 77 and 150 runs.

MAIN INNINGS

Ranji never looked back and set a benchmark for all the cricketers of India. Ranji made his debut in Test Cricket with a match played between England and Australia on 16th July, 1896 at Manchester. He was the first Indian to play for England.

• He scored 62 and 154 (not out) becoming the second batsman after WG Grace to score a century on debut for England and the first batsman to score 100 before lunch (on the third day, moving from 41 not out to 154 not out in just over 2 hours).

• Ranji scored 175 in the first innings of his first overseas Test, also against Australia in 1897 (then the highest score that had ever been made for England in Test cricket).
• The feat of scoring hundreds in debut home and away Tests was not imitated by an England player for 107 years, until Andrew Strauss in 2004.

• During a trip to Australia in the year 1897-98, he scored 1157 runs with an average of 60.89 runs.

• Ranji captained Sussex for a period of 5 years during 1899-1903, returned to India in 1904 and resumed his game from 1908 to 1912.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Ranjitsinhji made some remarkable contributions to the world of cricket. In the meantime, he also broke records to create his own.

• He brought a new style to batting: Previously, batsmen played forwards; Ranji played elegant strokes off the back foot, and his invention of the leg glance is perhaps the most famous.

• In scoring 3159 first-class runs, average 63.18, from 58 innings for Sussex in 1899 he became the first man to score over 3,000 runs in an English first-class season.

• Throughout his Test Cricket career, Ranji played 15 Test matches and scored 989 runs including 2 centuries and 6 half-centuries, with an average of 44.95 runs and a high score of 175 runs.

• He played 307 First Class Cricket matches during his career and scored 24692 runs including 72 centuries and 109 half-centuries, with an average of 56.37 runs and a high score of 285 runs (Not Out).

• Ranji was a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1897, Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee year; and in the same year, he published ‘The Jubilee Book of Cricket’.

AWARD CEREMONY

Ranji was declared the Maharaja Jam Sahib of Nawanagar on 10th March, 1907. He was a progressive ruler and statesman and set an example by the simplicity of his personal life. He modernized the capital of Jamnagar, developed the seaport of Nawanagar, and built roads, railways, and irrigation facilities.

Neville Cardus described him as ‘The Midsummer Night’s Dream of Cricket’. Ranji’s sporting success is even more remarkable given the fact that he suffered from bronchial problems, which affected his ability to play. He died in his Jamnagar Palace, aged 60, on 2nd April, 1933.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=The%20Proud%20%20Catch%20%20Of%20Gujarat:%20Jam%20Ranjitsinhji_552

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