Ranjit Singh Jadeja (Photo Credits: Twitter)
Every young cricketer dreams of being a part of the national team, before realizing this dream, he has to cross the Laxman Rekha of Ranji cricket tournament, although all papad has to be made to reach Ranji too. Only after Ranji cricket, cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Sachin were able to make a place in the national team. This shows the importance of Ranji cricket tournament. But what is ‘Ranji’? Who was its pioneer? Probably only a few people would know about them. Yes, the ‘Ranji’ we are referring to was actually Ranjit Singh Jadeja, whose 87th death anniversary (April 2) is being celebrated today. Let us know who was Ranjit Singh and his connection with cricket and how?
Who was Ranjit Singh Jadeja:
Ranjit Singh Vibhaji Jadeja was born on 10 September 1872 in Nawanagar, Gujarat, into a royal family. His full name was Kumar Ranjit Singh Jadeja. It is said that he has also been the Maharaja of Nawanagar. Apart from representing the English cricket team, Ranjit Singh also played county matches for Cambridge University and Sussex. He was considered one of the finest batsmen of the then cricket team, who played an important role in the development of Indian cricket. Neville Cardas honored him with ‘The Midsummer Night’s Dream of Cricket’. With his outstanding batting, he brought a new revolution in the cricket world. Ranjit Singh is also considered India’s first Test cricketer. Later, India’s first-class cricket tournament was named after him as ‘Ranji Trophy’ to honor him.
Also read- Ranji Trophy Canceled: Ranji Trophy will not be held for the first time in 87 years, BCCI has approved
Ranjit Singh’s cricket career:
At the age of just 11, he made his debut in cricket. In the year 1883, Ranjit Singh represented the school for the first time. In 1884 he was appointed captain. He developed a new style to bring a new revolution in batting and sports. Ranji played more on his hind legs in both defense and attack, improving the quality of pitches in the erstwhile era. He developed a special shot. On 16 July 1896, Ranjitsinh played the first Test cricket of his life. He scored 62 runs in the first innings, but at a margin of 181 runs, the England team is batting again, facing a follow-on. At the end of the second day, he was not out for 42 runs. On the final day, he scored 113 before lunch. He made his first century 154 not out in the Australian team’s tour. He participated in 15 Test matches throughout his career. In those days all Tests are played against Australia, he scored a total of 989 runs at an average of 44.96.
Ranji Trophy started after Ranjit Singh’s death:
On 2 April 1933, Ranjitsinh died due to cardiac arrest. After his death, in 1934, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) started a cricket tournament in his name, then named the trophy as Ranji Trophy. The first match took place in 1934–35 under this trophy. The trophy was donated by Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, he also inaugurated the tournament.