Indian domestic first-class cricket tournament, the Ranji Trophy, is one of the oldest and longest domestic cricket events in the world. The tournament is named after Ranjitsinhji, the first Indian cricketer to have played for England and Sussex.
In a 1.3 billion strong nation where cricket is a bona fide religion, each morning, thousands of youngsters flock to the ground nearest to them with only one dream – that of becoming the next Sachin Tendulkar. The competition to make it to even the local cricket club is back-breaking. And the closest that one can get to the national team is the prestigious Ranji Trophy.
With 700 plus players representing 28 teams in the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy, the national selection committee will have their task cut out to recognise a couple of back-ups to be in line with Anil Kumble's vision.
In no particular order, here are the 5 youngsters who have had a dream debut in Ranji 2016-17.
#1 Murtaza Trunkwala
The young boy from Nashik – who has previously captained the Maharashtra Under-19 and Under-23 Team – has been one of the highest run-scorers for the MCA in the past couple of years. The right-handed, opening batsman’s brilliance with the bat was seen in his century and a half century in the Cooch-Behar trophy ODIs, followed by a record-breaking double ton against Jammu & Kashmir in the longer format of the same tournament.
Often recognised as a big match player in domestic cricket, Murtaza lived up to the trust reposed in him in First Class cricket as well.
In his debut Ranji game against Saurashtra, the opponents posted a huge 657-8 declared. While most of the Maharashtra players lacked the virtue of patience, collapsing like a house of cards, debutant Murtaza was defiance personified, even as Dharmendrasingh Jadeja and Kushang Patel’s individual five-wicket hauls ran through the Maharashtra batting order. His 139-ball 64 and an unmistakable 117 off 227 helped his side salvage a draw.
He spearheaded the batting department nearly the entire first session in a fighting spirit. Murtaza’s ton was marked by 22 flashy boundaries until Jadeja finally got the better of him. In his very first game, the youngest player in the team taught his seniors the art of batting long.
A lone fighter under pressure, Murtaza’s debut was indeed remarkable.