November 2, 2010

Indian domestic cricket

Ranji in the times of IPL

Nishi Narayanan

India’s real premier league - the Ranji Trophy - started yesterday with no fans, and no fanfare, writes Kunal Pradhan in the Mirror.

The tournament’s disconnect with cricket fans has never been more apparent than in the last three when the IPL — marketed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as an international sports league — has brought with it packed stadiums and hotel lobbies brimming with fans waiting to get a glimpse of their favourite stars ...

The new season of the tournament, which is now 76 years old, started yesterday. Newspapers gave it full-page coverage, opting for the retro chic because nothing of more importance was going on. There was even a match on TV. Things were looking good for Ranji cricket after a long time, but only from a distance. At the Bandra-Kurla ground, where 39-time champions Mumbai started their campaign against Saurashtra, there was neither a sense of history nor a single fan.

In DNA, Taus Rizvi speaks to Vasant Ranjane, the Ranji Trophy cricketer whose record for best figures on debut nearly got broken on the first day of the 2010-11 season.

Reminded of his 57-year-old feat, Ranjane could not stop talking in excitement. A former fitter with the Indian Railways, the 73-year-old did not know the importance of a Ranji Trophy game.

“What’s his name and where is he from?” he asked about the Rajasthan debutant. “I remember that I had a record. But I wasn’t educated enough to know about Ranji Trophy or Test cricket.

Khaali bhagwaan ka naam leke bowling daalta (The only thing I knew was to bowl by taking god’s name),” he told DNA. Incidentally, Chahar was also on a hat-trick but could not complete it. “I was not well on the first day of the match. I did not tell anyone.

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Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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