Cricket

Ranji trophy | Saurashtra’s win a culmination of its rich cricketing history

Dream come true: The Saurashtra team members are on cloud nine after clinching the Ranji Trophy.  

Carrying on a long legacy from the time of the British rule, the friendly and hospitable Saurashtrians finally experienced a dream come true when Jaydev Unadkat lifted the Ranji Trophy for the first time by beating Bengal at home here on March 13.

After the erstwhile Nawanagar (the previous version of Saurashtra) won the Ranji Trophy — which was named after the legendary Ranjitsinhji of Jamnagar — way back in 1936-37, incidentally beating Bengal, its cricket administration went through a lot of changes before the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) came into being in the 1950s.

Renowned cricketers

Over the years, the region has produced several renowned cricketers — including Duleepsinhji, L. Amarsinh, L. Ramji, Vinoo Mankad, Salim Durrani, Dhiraj Parsana, Karsan Ghavri, Ravindra Jadeja, Unadkat and Cheteshwar Pujara — and takes pride in its rich cricketing history.

Pujara, who was part of the winning squad, said,

“This victory means a lot to me. For the entire team and the region, this is special. It means a lot to my father, who has played the Ranji Trophy. For generations to follow, it will give them belief,” said Pujara.

For former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Niranjan Shah and his son Jaydev, the Ranji Trophy triumph was a lifetime achievement.

“Earlier, our players used to migrate to other States. During Jaydev’s captaincy (for 12 years), he held back the players to build a team.

“Our effort to groom talented under-19 players for Ranji Trophy also helped,” said Niranjan.

Evolution

Jaydev, the current SCA president, elaborated how he built a solid unit. “Once, we were No. 28 among 30 teams. Then we became the Plate division champion, came to Elite, qualified for knockouts and ultimately became a Ranji champion.

“I ensured that players were picked purely on the basis of performance without any discrimination and showed faith in them. That’s how we got an experienced side. You need experience to win Ranji Trophy.

“I kept some senior players in the leadership group before deciding to hand over captaincy to Unadkat. The transition was smooth.

“Every small thing was taken care of. Getting such top class infrastructure (at the SCA) also helped,” said Jaydev.

Former captain and coach Sitanshu Kotaka, who spent 27 years with the side, said, “A good unit, which was developed over the years, has made this possible. It’s a proud moment for all of us,” said Kotak.

Coach Karsan Ghavri said, “Except Unadkat and Pujara, it is a team of normal Ranji Trophy players. For five-six of them it was like religion.”

Sujitkumar Bose, a Rajkot-based former journalist and a keen follower of Saurashtra cricket, said the achievement was a matter of pride. “The SCA started from almost nothing. Saurashtra becoming the Ranji champion is an emotional moment for the region,” said Bose.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 9:32:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/ranji-trophy-saurashtras-win-a-culmination-of-its-rich-cricketing-history/article31071125.ece

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