Ranjitsinhji, after whom the Ranji Trophy is named, was one of the greatest batsmen of the era.
Kumar Shree Ranjitsinhji, famously known as Ranji, was born on 10th September 1872 in the state of Nawanagar in the western Indian province of Kathiawar. Born in the princely family, 16-year old Prince Ranjitsinhji was sent to Cambridge University, London for further studies and since then he ruled the game of cricket.
The scarcity of cricket in those days and Ranji’s ill-health eventually shortened the career of the great oriental batsman which consisted of only 15 Test matches. Ranji, however, played a great deal of first-class cricket in England and became a Sussex stalwart. In 307 first-class matches, he amassed 24,692 runs at an average of 56.37 with 72 centuries.
In the span of Ranji’s 25 years as an active cricketer, he went on to produce a number of stupendous performances which made the Englishmen fall in love with this batting giant. Here are five such anecdotes which prove why Ranjitsinhji was such as great batsman.
#1 The magical Test debut
In his first-class debut for Sussex in 1895, Ranji scored 77 and a brilliant 150 alongside seven wickets with off-spin bowling. The performance gained him instant fame and later he also became the fourth highest run-getter of the season.With the arrival of the Australian team in England for the Test series in 1896, there were hopes of seeing the colored man play Test cricket for England.
Selector Lord Harris, however, was dismissive of Ranji and refused to select him for the first Test at the Lord’s.The second Test was scheduled at the Old Trafford, and the team would now be chosen by the Lancashire selection committee. Impressed by Ranji’s talent, they handed him the Test debut.
After a cautious 62 in the first innings, Ranji scored 154 not out in the second innings (England following on) where the next highest score in the team was mere 19. Although the team went on to lose the match, the innings displayed what the legend was truly capable of.