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December 3, 2002
As the Indian domestic season kicked off with a revamped Ranji Trophy league structure, many eyes turned to the Ray-Ban domestic cricket ratings after the first month of play to assess the relative merits of the batsmen and bowlers slogging it out.
Delhi opener Gautam Gambhir found himself at the top of the batting ratings with a net 626 points, only two more than Hyderabad star Ambati Rayudu. Abhijit Kale (Maharashtra), Yashpal Singh (Services) and Thilak Naidu (Karnataka) make up the rest of the top five. (Click here for the top 25 batsmen.)
For somebody who has played only four innings, Gambhir's feat of notching up a double-century (233) and a big hundred (157) in that period is remarkable - the main reason he is at number one in the ratings this month. Young turk Rayudu finds himself at second for much the same reason; in three of his six innings, Rayudu had scores of 210, 159 and 55.
Consistency-wise, however, Thilak Naidu - as the graph shows - is the man to plump for. Four innings saw him cross 50 all four times; on one occasion he made 167, while he got close to a century with 98 and 86 on two other occasions. The lack of more centuries sees him miss out on a higher rank, just as the tally of three centuries in eight innings sees Kale come in at number three. The real flash-in-the-pan performance is perhaps that of Amay Khurasiya; aside from his one steep double-century score, his graph shows few remarkable displays of batting.
Indian one-Test wonder and Madhya Pradesh leg-spinner Narendra Hirwani notches up 560 points in the bowling sweeps, as does Railways off-spinner Kulamani Parida. Hirwani, however, gets the edge by virtue of tallying up more five-wicket hauls than Parida. KN Ananthapadmanabhan (Kerala), Pritam Gandhe (Vidarbha) and Madhusudan Acharya (Vidarbha) come in at three, four and five respectively. (Click here for the top 25 bowlers.)
In fact, Hirwani and Vidarbha offie Gandhe are also neck-and-neck in the bowling department, but the former sticks his own ahead on the basis of playing two more innings and thereby picking more wickets. Gandhe struck form in all of his four innings, taking five wickets in three of them and four wickets in the fourth.
Gandhe loses out unfortunately to a few players with more innings - and thereby more wickets - under their belt. Parida at second has played as many as seven innings, but his tally of 23 is not appreciably more than Gandhe's 19. Scraping into the top six is Mumbai off-spinner Faisal Shaikh, who does so on the strength of one eight-wicket innings haul; his other five innings reaped only eight wickets put together!
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