They fight hard, they never give up till the last moment, irrespective of who their opponent is. Sometimes the opponents may be stronger, but the the spirit to fight is in their blood! Wondering whom I am talking about? It’s the services team in Ranji trophy!
They serve for the nation, fight for victory on the borders and the same attitude they show on cricket field too. They are out of the Ranji season now, but certainly they were the underdogs of this season. At the beginning of the season, they were placed in the group which is specially made for weak teams, and that is group C. In the beginning, there were hardly few among us who at least knew that there was a team called as ‘Services’ in group C.
They held top place in group C, winning 2 matches – 1st against Assam by 10 wickets, and next against J&K by 5 wickets. Even the Mumbai team, who are hot favorites to grab the Ranji trophy this year, have managed to win only 1 game out of 8 league games. In the beginning, everyone was looking for the top teams from group A & B and trying to predict the teams which will play in the semifinals. Meanwhile, the Services team had other plans. They started the season quietly and improved their performance after each and every game. There were people who taunted them by saying that they were playing against weak teams of group C, and that they wouldn’t be able to stand in front of strong teams like UP in the quarter finals. But the Services team proved them wrong!
Among the 4 quarter finals played this season, Services were the only team who registered an outright win, whereas other teams could only manage to proceed to semis on the basis of 1st innings lead. In semis, Services were facing the best team of the Ranji trophy tournament over the years – Mumbai, the side having almost a dozen players who have played for India, including the Master Blaster! Though they lost in the semis on the basis of 1st innings lead, they almost had the Mumbaikars on the mat when they sent 6 top quality batsmen back to the pavilion for a mere 169 runs. If the rain hadn’t interrupted play, and if there was a game on 3rd & 4th day, yet another surprise result was also possible. Even Sachin Tendulkar applauded the efforts of Services players who showed the spirit, the attitude and fought all the way to the semis.
At the end of the season, the Services skipper Soumya Swain was satisfied with his team’s performance – why shouldn’t he be? After all, these bunch of players, who were underestimated earlier, had managed to reach to the top 4 from nowhere! Paliwal & Y Singh were their best batsmen for the season, both scoring above 700 runs. S Yadav, along with S Nazar, were the backbone of their bowling attack. This team has really shown their class in this Ranji season. There are many things for the other teams to learn from them, apart from cricket. Hats off for their efforts. Services, you are the team to look out for in the next season. We show respect for you in your style. Grand salute to your performance – good job soldiers!Published 24 Jan 2013, 13:41 IST