A country of more than 1.3 billion people, 29 states, and 7 union territories, India has been one of the biggest recipients of cricket advancements. Indian cricket has witnessed a massive surge in talent, the reason for which is the tremendous amount of hard work and efforts laid out in the domestic circuits.
Since the game’s inception into the country in the 19th century, the domestic tournaments have played an essential role in determining the future of India’s cricket journey. One such tournament that has played host to such an ideology is the Ranji Trophy.
Named after Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji who was the first Indian cricketer to play international cricket, the tournament lays emphasis on the genesis of fresh and new talents who look to make their presence felt on the international scenario. The tournament was established in 1934 and the first match was played between Madras and Mysore.
While the tournament aims to hone the skills of prospective talents, the platform is also laid out perfectly to provide the youth with acres of experience. Most teams are usually bolstered by the presence of some seasoned cricketers who might have featured for India or those who would have represented Ranji teams for a long span of time.
These senior players often rub-off on the budding cricketers and enhance them to increase their skills and prepare for the global scenario.
Owing to the fact that only Indian players and places are involved in the game, there have been players who have shifted base to some other states and represented different teams to intensify the finesse involved in their game.
Here, we try to look at five cricketers who have devoted all their time and talent to just one Ranji team throughout their first-class career, unable to make a large impression on the international scenario.
#5 Devendra Bundela [Madhya Pradesh, 1995- present]
The backbone of Madhya Pradesh’s Ranji team for more than two decades now, Devendra Bundela, the all-rounder from Indore, Madhya Pradesh has developed a huge name for himself in the domestic scenario.
Having debuted for Madhya Pradesh in 1996 against Tamil Nadu at the young age of 19, Bundela did not have the greatest of beginnings. He could only score 26 runs in his team’s loss. However, Bundela did not deter from the outcome of his first innings. The same season, scores of 72 and a century saw him making strides towards improving his game further.
Two seasons later in the 1998-99 season, Bundela found the best of his form with 1008 runs from 11 matches at an average of 77.53. However, the vast pool of talent in the Indian squad at the prime of his playing form saw him losing out on a place in the national squad.
However, Bundela made most of his opportunities with his Ranji squad and is the highest run-getter for Madhya Pradesh in the first-class scenario. A right-hand batsman and a handy right-arm medium pacer, the 39-year old Bundela continues to represent his state 21 years since his debut and currently serves as the captain of the squad for the 2016-17 season.