The Men behind the trophies: Tournaments and the cricketers they were named for


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KS Duleepsinhji, a nephew of Ranjitsinhji and an accomplished cricketer himself

Some of India's most iconic trophies have a rich history behind their names. With the history of some eminent cricketing figures behind them, here's a look at 5 big tournaments in India and the personalities they were named for.

Duleep Trophy

This was named after Kumar Duleepsinhji of Nawanagar.

About the tournament:

The Duleep Trophy commenced in 1961 by the BCCI. Contested every year by five zonal teams until the 2015-2016 season, the tournament saw an overhaul in format 2016 onwards.

Earlier fought in a round-robin format between teams from the East, West, North, South and Central Zones, it is contested now between India Red, India Blue and India Green. Selectors pick teams for the Duleep Trophy of a specific year on the basis of their performance in the preceding year's Ranji Trophy season, although which team they will play for is arbitrary.

Who was Kumar Duleepsinhji?

Born into a noble family - the Jamsahibs of Nawanagar in India, Duleep was the nephew of an altogether perhaps more famous face and an iconic name in wrld cricket: Maharaja Ranjitsinhji, for whom the Ranji Trophy is named. Just as talented as his famous uncle, Duleep has repeatedly been judged one of the best players in the history of Test cricket. And just like his famous uncle, Duleep too played cricket for England.

In fact, history records the young prince as being awed by his perhaps more famous uncle, who was also his mentor - and his coach, which may explain a lot of Duleep's own prowess.

Duleep first began his cricketing career during his schooling in England in the 1920s and 30s, progressing from the collegiate level at Cheltenham, to the University of Cambridge team, to the county level for Sussex, and eventually, he was called up to the English national team.

Duleepsinhji scored as many as fifty First-Class centuries over eight seasons, and he would have been part of a side that toured Australia in 1932 had recurrent illness not hampered his progress. Recurring ailments eventually saw the end of Duleep's career. In fact, he would have been a certainty for the Ashes that year had a physician not diagnosed him with the pulmonary condition that would take his life many years later.

He may have given up playing cricket then, but Duleep never remained very far from the sport. He worked as a selector for both countries - England and India - up until his death, and served in the Indian Foreign Office after Independence in 1947, when he was 42.

He took up chairmanship of the All-India Sports Council in 1959, and served in that role effectively until his death at the relatively young age of 54 later that same year, of cardiac arrest that followed the same pulmonary issues he had faced for many years prior.

The Duleep Trophy was instituted in his honour just over a decade after his passing.

Fun Fact: For five seasons, between 2003 and 2008, the Duleep Trophy saw one foreign team feature as a guest squad, most recently the England Lions from '07 to '08.

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Edited by Anuradha Santhanam
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