To mark Sachin Tendulkar’s maiden appearance at the Chaudhary Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Lahli, the Haryana Cricket Association (HCA) has decided to honour the State team that won its only Ranji Trophy title under the captaincy of Kapil Dev in 1991.
The team members are expected to be present on the opening day of the Haryana-Mumbai Ranji match on October 27.
Kapil had led a bunch of motivated cricketers, coached by noted off-spinner Sarkar Talwar, to the title amidst stiff resistance from teams like Uttar Pradesh, Bengal and Bombay.
Confirming that he would attend the function, Kapil said it was always an honour to be with the team that won the Ranji Trophy and added the Irani Cup, too, in a sensational contest at Faridabad. The final at Wankhede Stadium had a fairy-tale ending for Haryana which won by one run.
It was at the behest of former Board President and presently HCA patron-in-chief Ranbir Singh Mahendra that the decision to invite the team of 1991 was made. “It was a glorious hour for Haryana cricket and this is an ideal occasion to assemble the team at Lahli. It is God-sent opportunity for all of us to watch Sachin in action. It will be an occasion to cherish for all times,” said Mr. Mahendra.
Haryana had marched past UP, Bengal and Bombay with a “collective performance” as Kapil led by example. The team of 1991 is also excited at this opportunity of coming on one stage after 22 years. Deepak Sharma, who made a brilliant 199 in the final, is expected to fly in from Perth. Most players have remained connected with the game in various capacities except Banerjee who took to journalism.
Dhanraj Singh, Ajay Jadeja, Amarjeet Kaypee, Ajay Banerjee, Rajesh Puri, Vijay Yadav, Chetan Sharma, Yogendra Bhandari, Pradeep Jain, Vinay Dutt, Nitin Goel, Sumeet Dogra, Sukhdev Singh, Sandeep Joshi and Sanjay Bhatia were the other members of the team.
Interestingly, two players from that epic final, Tendulkar and Jadeja, would be on view at the Lahli ground from October 26 to 30. Tendulkar could be playing his last Ranji Trophy match and Jadeja is likely to lead Haryana in what will be his 25th year in professional cricket.
During two seasons, in 1997 and 1999, Jadeja was Tendulkar’s deputy in the One Day Internationals.