Ramachandra Guha
Cricket writer and historian

The stars of Kathiawar

In all the talk of Bombay's credentials as a historical stronghold of Indian cricket, a region to the north gets overlooked

Ramachandra Guha

November 30, 2013

Comments: 49 | Text size: A | A

Vinoo Mankad batting against England on India's 1946 tour
Vinoo Mankad: Kathiawar's finest © Wisden

When, in September 1888, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi travelled to London to study law, he was carrying letters of introduction to four people. One was Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji, who also hailed from Kathiawar. Gandhi did not meet Ranji then, nor did the two come across each another in subsequent decades, when one became a major political leader and the other a famous cricketer and ruler of a princely state. So far as I can tell, these two Kathiawaris did not meet face-to-face - but they did meet in the afterlife, in the pages of a novel by an Englishman, which cast them both as students in Rajkot, with the wily bania - playing for the plebeian Kattywar High School - bowling googlies against the aristocratic batsman representing the Rajkumar College.

Late last year I was with my daughter in Kathiawar, visiting sites associated with the early life of the Mahatma. We spent a day in Rajkot, where we visited Gandhi's ancestral home, which is now a museum, and then his school, now renamed after its most famous graduate. We then drove on to Morbi, the home town of Gandhi's closest friend, Pranjivan Mehta. Our next stop was Wankaner, where Gandhi's father had once served as Diwan.

Driving through the Saurashtra countryside, I spotted a sign that said "Jamnagar: 100 kilometres". When I saw the sign, the Gandhi scholar in me receded and the cricket nut called. That night, in our hotel in Morbi, we went into Google and came out with a booking at the splendidly named Hotel Aram in Jamnagar. The next morning we were in the town that once served as the capital of the state Ranji erratically and indifferently ruled over, Nawanagar.

In Jamnagar we drove around the palaces, and then went in search of cricketing memorabilia. I remembered reading a piece by Dilip D'Souza that mentioned a statue of Vinoo Mankad in the town. We asked as to its whereabouts. It was, we were told, near a place called Cricket Bungalow. This was a pavilion built by Ranji when he was Jam Saheb, overlooking a ground where matches were still played and where young boys still regularly practised. On the roundabout adjacent to the ground was the statue of the great allrounder, a cricket ball poised in a raised left-arm.

My daughter obligingly took a photo of her middle-aged father next to the Indian cricketer he most admired. Meanwhile two youngsters on a motorbike came up, looking at the statue with affectionate respect. "Vinoo bhai Mankad," said one, to himself, reflectively. I asked who his own favourite cricketer was. "Ravindra bhai Jadeja," he answered, naming the Jamnagar boy then cementing his place in the Indian team.

The first world-class cricketers from Kathiawar were Ranji and his nephew KS Duleepsinhji. When a clamour arose for his nephew to lead the Indian touring team to England in 1932, Ranji notoriously said: "Both Duleep and I are English cricketers." The hurt that patriotic Indians felt was partly mitigated when Ranji helped choose a talented youngster from Jamnagar for that tour. His name was L Amar Singh. A fine swing bowler and useful lower-order batsman, Amar Singh played with distinction in India's early Tests before dying at the age of 30.

His older brother, L Ramji, played one Test for India. He was an out-and-out fast bowler, a holy terror in the Bombay Quadrangular when he wore a vermilion tilak on his forehead, running up to bowl as a partisan crowd shouted: "Har Har Mahadev!"

Ranji, Duleep and Amar notwithstanding, the greatest Kathiawari cricketer was Mulvantrai (known always as Vinoo) Mankad. Mankad first played for India in a series of unofficial Tests in 1937-38. The Second World War then broke out, delaying his official debut until 1946. For the next decade he had only Keith Miller for competition for the title of best allrounder in the world. He was a superbly skilled slow left-arm bowler, an attacking opening batsman, and absolutely indispensable to his team, in a manner that no Indian cricketer since - not Kapil Dev, not even Sachin Tendulkar - has been. Consider these figures: in the five Test matches that India won when Mankad was around, he averaged over a hundred with the bat, while taking more than eight wickets per Test at some 13 runs apiece.

Mankad last played for India in 1959. In the 1960s another Kathiawari played a few Tests for India. He was a wicketkeeper-batsman named KS Indrajitsinhji. As his initials indicate, he was of noble birth. In fact, he was a kinsman of Ranji and Duleep, and was himself born in Jamnagar. He was an excellent stumper and decent bat, whose Test appearances were restricted because his career overlapped with that of Farokh Engineer and Budhi Kunderan.

A close contemporary of Indrajit was the gifted allrounder Salim Aziz Durani. He was raised in Jamnagar, where his father once worked, and where his mother lived. He made his first-class debut for Saurashtra before moving to Rajasthan, which was the state he represented during the years he played for India. Durani played an important role in several series wins - against England in 1961-62 and 1972-73, and against West Indies in 1971.

After Durani and Indrajit, for several decades Kathiawar was relegated to the backwaters of Indian cricket. The first-class team representing the region, Saurashtra, was never competitive in the Ranji Trophy. Now, however, an Indian XI rarely enters the field without at least one, and often two, Kathiawaris in it. These are the hugely accomplished batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, from the town of Rajkot, where Gandhi once lived, studied and worked; and the talented allrounder Ravindra Jadeja, from Ranji's former capital of Jamnagar.

Down the decades, Kathiawari princes have ennobled Indian cricket; Kathiawari commoners have enriched it. And lest it be forgotten, the region has contributed immensely to Pakistani cricket too. For the most remarkable of all cricketing families, the Mohammads, were born and raised in the Kathiawari chiefdom of Junagadh.

Cheteshwar Pujara raises his bat after reaching his century, India v West Indies, 2nd Test, Mumbai, 2nd day, November 15, 2013
Cheteshwar Pujara: a Gandhi connection © BCCI

Years ago I read a piece by the poet-policeman Keki Daruwala on his boyhood days in Junagadh, where his father was a state official. One day, the cricket-mad young Parsi was taken to play with Hanif and Wazir, who were just a little older than him. They told Keki to first test his skills against their younger brother. After the five-year-old Mushtaq had bowled him a series of fizzling legbreaks and googlies, poor Keki retired home, defeated.

Of the five Mohammad brothers, four played for Pakistan. Wazir, Mushtaq and Sadiq were all very good batsmen, and Mushtaq (as we have seen) could bowl a bit too. Hanif, of course, was one of the immortals. He was venerated in Pakistan but also in India and the West Indies, where he played some memorable - but to disgusted home fans, interminable - Test innings. Apart from his supreme skills with the bat, Hanif was a capable wicketkeeper, who may incidentally also have been the only player to have bowled left-arm and right-arm in the same over of a Test match.

I travelled through Kathiawar principally because I wanted to see at first-hand the terrain that shaped Gandhi and his work. As the Mahatma's homeland, the region has a honoured place in the political and social history of India (and its spiritual and moral history too). It also has a secure spot in the more modest realm of the history of cricket. Proof may be found in this imaginary All-time Kathiawari XI, which, in batting order, shall read: 1. Hanif Mohammad, 2. Vinoo Mankad, 3. KS Ranjitsinhji (captain), 4. KS Duleepsinhji, 5. Cheteshwar Pujara, 6. Mushtaq Mohammad, 7. Salim Durani, 8. Ravindra Jadeja, 9. L Amar Singh, 10. KS Indrajitsinhji (wicketkeeper), 11. L Ramji

One of my cricketing fantasies pits this side against a likewise imaginary all-time team from Bombay, which runs: 1. Sunil Gavaskar (captain), 2. Vijay Merchant, 3. Dilip Vengsarkar, 4. Sachin Tendulkar, 5. Vijay Manjrekar, 6. Polly Umrigar 7. Dattu Phadkar, 8. Naren Tamhane (wicketkeeper), 9. Ramakant Desai, 10. Padmakar Shivalkar, 11. Subhas Gupte.

In such a contest my instinct would be to back Ranji's XI. Perhaps their batting is marginally weaker, but they have two world-class bowlers (Mankad and Amar Singh) against one (Gupte). And their outcricket will surely be better. The Bombay batsmen were all singularly unathletic, and Ranji and Duleep were both excellent fielders. So were Amar Singh and Vinoo Mankad. And so, of course, are Pujara and Jadeja, the current torchbearers of the great tradition of Kathiawari cricket.

Historian and cricket writer Ramachandra Guha is the author of A Corner of A Foreign Field and Wickets in the East among other books. This article was first published in the Kolkata Telegraph

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Posted by Sir_Ivor on (December 5, 2013, 7:25 GMT)

It was a pleasure reading the comments of jay57870 an obviously knowledgeable cricket follower. He must understand though that history is not always totally accurate because subjectivity is integral to it. It becomes difficult for historians to ply their trade with people who have lived the times being talked about ! I too belong to that tribe.

Posted by Naresh28 on (December 4, 2013, 6:39 GMT)

Nice delve into history by the author. Also some excellent research by some fans giving their views and preferences. @nampally - your knowledge of Indian cricket amazes me and also some nice comments by jay57870. This shows how important cricket is to INDIA. The constant referrals back to the good old days digging up who is who.

Posted by jay57870 on (December 4, 2013, 4:28 GMT)

Guha's drive down Memory Lane in Kathiawar is gripping, even as he hits a few road-bumps & goes astray sometimes. To say that Mankad was "absolutely indispensable to his team" - more so than Kapil & Sachin - is going over the top. Great as Vinoo was, his winning 5 Tests were all at home against so-so teams: NZ(2), Pak (2) & Eng (1). Compare Gavaskar's phenomenal 1971 debut with 774 runs in 4 Tests to help India beat Sobers, Lloyd, Kanhai & Co in WI. Gavaskar was as "indispensable", if not more so, as one of the greatest openers of all time, to become India's first Little Master. Only to be surpassed by the next Little Master - Tendulkar - arguably the best batsman ever. Ask the great Hanif, Pakistan's Little Master who proclaimed recently: "Sachin deserves the title of Little Master, not me"! Guha is straying: Only last year he referred to Sachin as "India's greatest batsman" (in "The joy of Sachin"). He's retired, still Guha wants to get him out? LOL, it's called "Mankading", Guha!

Posted by jay57870 on (December 4, 2013, 1:34 GMT)

There have been positive transformational changes in Indian cricket since Independence. Guha goes over the top again when he claims "The Bombay batsmen were all singularly unathletic". Really? As good as Mankad was, I enjoyed watching Umrigar & Phadkar too - for their all-round batting, bowling & fielding. Much as I admire the veterans in the Kathiawar & Bombay teams, the bar is raised much higher in modern-day competitive cricket. The fitness levels & outcricket are markedly improved. Gavaskar & Tendulkar would never have scaled the heights if they were "singularly unathletic"! Still Guha has to be complimented for narrating a piece of interesting cricket history. It's not so much about Bombay vs Kathiawar though. It's what Gandhi strove for: power has shifted from the maharajas to the common man - from Ranji & Duleep to Pujara & Jadeja. The Bombay stronghold has dissipated to all corners of the nation. "The stars of Kathiawar" depicts a real meritocracy! Good read indeed, Guha!

Posted by jay57870 on (December 3, 2013, 11:11 GMT)

Guha - It's a good read. Only that the narrative becomes a "fantasy" when a historian conjures "imaginary" teams for comparison that's debatable. Guha's admission that Indrajitsinhji's "Test appearances were restricted because his career overlapped with that of Farokh Engineer" is a case in point. So not to include Bombay's Engineer - a world-class keeper-batsman who represented the Rest of the World (in Eng & Oz) in the early 70s - is a glaring omission. What's more, he was in the elite team that beat England for the first time on its soil in 1971. It had several Bombay stars: Wadekar (captain), Sardesai, Solkar, Gavaskar & Ashok Mankad (Vinoo's son): Over half the side! The Poms even had Bombay-born John Jameson as opener. India had earlier beaten the great Sobers & Co in WI. It was a tipping point in Indian cricket: David had beaten Goliath on the road, twice! I was there at The Oval to hail the epochal moment. A big change from what I'd seen in earlier times at the Eden Gardens!

Posted by KKABothamImranDevLillee on (December 3, 2013, 6:02 GMT)

Excellent article Mr. Guha. The Kathiawar XI & Bombay / Mumbai XI was too good.!!. Mysore / Karnataka XI proposed by one of the readers is stuff of legends!!. Missed out Kumar Shri Ghanshyamshinhji Daulatsinhji Jhalla Limbdi (Maharaja of Limbdi) and Natwarsinhji Bhavsinhji (Maharaja of Porbandar). Both were in the Indian team during its 1st tour to England. As mentioned in the profile of Maharaja of Porbandar was Officially the Captain of the team. However, he stepped aside & handed over captaincy to C.K. Nayudu for the 1st test match. A very fine sporting gesture on his part.!!

Posted by Temuzin on (December 2, 2013, 21:23 GMT)

I thought Ajay Jadeja was also from Jamnagar. He is also a kathiyawari.

Posted by   on (December 2, 2013, 6:10 GMT)

@ Rashid Ibrahim Mohajir, I am sure Javed Miandad would have made this list with his eyes closed but I guess one has to have represented the Ranji team, Kathiawar XI at some point in their career to be considered for this XI.

@ Ramachandra Guha, love the article. My dad who was brought up in Junagadh and saw some of these players closely almost guessed the entire XIs that you have compiled here. He has even been close friends and played with some cricketers who were extremely close to making the Ranji side and then didn't because of unforeseen circumstances. But wonderful...brought a smile to our faces.

Posted by Rodc on (December 2, 2013, 4:33 GMT)

Good mr Guha you wrote this on kathiawar ,you could finish it but had you thought of writing this on bombay you would never be able to finish it and just to tell you the ranji team of bombay in 70's&80's was more stronger then your kathiwar 11.

Posted by HarishSampat on (December 1, 2013, 23:32 GMT)

Bit surprised that Mr. Guha forgot to mention Karsan Ghavri who was from Rajkot. He played 39 tests and had taken 109 wickets and almost 1,000 runs.

Posted by BlackKnight on (December 1, 2013, 21:22 GMT)

Very interesting piece Mr. Guha! I've known some of them personally and the article has touched a chord. However, I must point out that another Kathiawadi worth a mention in this piece is Karsan Ghavri.

Posted by Nampally on (December 1, 2013, 16:40 GMT)

@Sunil Fernandes: Yes there were notable omissions by Mr. Guha from the All Time Bombay XI. However you must admit that Bombay has such a large pool of top class players that it is a toss up as to who you would include. Each person has his own favourites. However the choice of including Shivalkar was a poor one. Wadekar & Sardesai are hard to ignore. However Phadkar & Desai were the best pace bowlers deserving recognition over both Agarkar & Zaheer. Phadkar was a fantastic all rounder- trained in fast bowling at the Alf Gower indoor school in England. He nearly won a Test match at Bombay against WI with 93*- scored vs. negative bowling by Prior Jones. India fell short by 7 runs! Desai was the most feared fast bowler despite his dimitive size- 5'-4" with 28" chest <120 Lbs. His lethal bumper was almost unplayable! I prefer Farokh or Kunderan over Tamhane. However Manjrekar is irreplacable- way above Rohit Sharma, in my opinion. Yes, Kathiawar XI is unreal- Also see my earlier inputs.

Posted by ananthd on (December 1, 2013, 16:00 GMT)

Thanks to Dr. Guha for the thought provoking article. How about this all-time 11 from Mysore/Karnataka? 1. B. Kunderan (wk); 2. R. Binny; 3. R. Dravid; 4. G.R. Viswanath; 5. Colin Cowdrey (he went to school in Bangalore); 6. Brijesh Patel; 7. R. Sudhakar Rao; 8. A. Kumble(c); 9. E.A.S. Prasanna; 10. J. Srinath; 11. B.S. Chandrasekhar Notes: i) Had to leave out Kirmani as Kunderan was a better batsman and a successful opener at the test level. ii) This team is assumed to play in Indian pitches and hence three world-class spinners. iii) Binny used to open the batting for Karnataka in the 70's. He opened the bowling as well.

Posted by Atash on (December 1, 2013, 15:32 GMT)

In the early seventies I met the father of an very dear family friend, an Parsi gentleman who was a professional cricketer who played from late twenties to early forties. He was a fast bowler and had played for many teams of the Royal states as well as against the English Teams led by Jardine and Gilligan. He informed me that Ramji was not just the fastest but also the most hostile of all fast bowlers he had seen or played against, from India. Since he himself was a fast bowler I have no reason to doubt his opinion. Till then I had never heard of Ramji but the old man was very sure that the Ramji he played with was much faster than Amar Singh or Nissar.

Posted by   on (December 1, 2013, 13:25 GMT)

Ajay Jadeja is son of Dilpsihnji from Jamngar.... who is related to royal family....

Posted by android_user on (December 1, 2013, 8:32 GMT)

I am a great admirer of guha's work but I feel he has omitted a few big guns from the all time bombay xi to probably lend more credibility to his fantasy kathiawar xi. zaheer khan for shivalkar, dilip sardesai or even rohit sharma for manjrekar farookh engineer for tamhane and ajit agarkar for either desai or phadkar would make the bombay far stronger and a creditable fantasy xi which would conceivably beat the kathiawari, majority of whom never played for india let alone for kathiawar.

Posted by   on (December 1, 2013, 8:29 GMT)

I want to add another name to the list of the distinguished cricketing greats. Javed Miandad. His roots is also from Kathiawar as his family had migrated to Pakistan from there.

Posted by Sir_Ivor on (December 1, 2013, 6:37 GMT)

I have had the great fortune to have seen almost all the players named by Ramchandra Guha in the two teams.That is because I was born earlier than most of the followers of cricinfo, apart from being an avid cricket fan from my early years in erstwhile Bombay. And from the beginning I watched the game very closely, heard commentaries and later on watched the TV which was probably as close as watching the game live. From the teams selected by Ramchandra,barring Ranji,Duleep,Amar Singh and Ramji, I have seen everyone else on either side.Initially at the Brabourne then at several other places.The thing is that even in those days India had some great players in their ranks but perhaps, because it had not yet shaken off the colonial complexes they were unable to beat top teams often.With the IPL making a major impact on World Cricket and the well-sung accomplishments of the famous six, Indian players have soaked in the confidence that was absent before. Kathiawar was known long before this !

Posted by ram5160 on (December 1, 2013, 5:44 GMT)

An absolute pleasure. Ram Guha 's writing on Gandhiji is exceeded only by his writing on cricket. Undoubtedly the best cricket writer in India.

Posted by Nampally on (December 1, 2013, 0:32 GMT)

While the Kathiawar all time XI has numerous Pakistanis & Indians who did not play for India, Bombay all time has only local players. Bombay were so dominant in Cricket for so long that it is impossible for any state side to match their record - let alone Kathiawar. I greatly admire the contributions of Kathiawar to the Indian team including the current ones in jadeja & pujara. Even during the Mankad era, Bombay had Umrigar, Phadkar, Ramchand, Manjrekar, SP Gupte- each a "Great" in his own right. The secret to Bombay's outstanding players was their player development from the School level to the University level, to state & Test teams. While I greatly admire the Kathiawar players both present & the past ones, Bombay had produced more talented players than any other state in India. This No One can deny. Bombay is the Cricket hub to India as was Surrey to England in 50's & 60's.Today India has every state doing just as well - thanks to IPL for providing the Pro livelihood incentive!

Posted by   on (November 30, 2013, 21:18 GMT)

A wonderful article reflecting the passion Mr. Guha shares for both history and cricket, in no particular order. For the sheer sense of romanticism involved in invoking the Dream XI to the accuracy involved in knowledgable recounting the factual data and reeling out such precious anecdotes, you have no peers in this genre of writing Mr. Guha. I had a surge of excitement reading your enthralling gem. Thank you very much for Sir.

Posted by ttechlaw on (November 30, 2013, 20:24 GMT)

Karsan Ghavri, Yajuvendra Sinhji, Dhiraj Parsana, Hanif Mohammed, Javed Miandad were all from Kathiawar (Saurashtra) as well.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2013, 18:17 GMT)

A well written article. Thanks Mr.Guha. It has helped me increase my knowledge about the influence of Kathiawar in Indian Cricket.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2013, 18:05 GMT)

Wait. Where's the controversy that usually follows after the reference to Tendulkar being implied to be unathletic?

Posted by nachiketajoshi on (November 30, 2013, 17:48 GMT)

Great piece of journalism - yes, Ghavri should have been included.

Posted by InsideHedge on (November 30, 2013, 17:25 GMT)

People always write in with "You forgot X, Y and Z", it really gets tiring. Had the author not mentioned Ranji/Duleep, it'd be understandable but the article was never meant to be an exhaustive list of all the cricketers from Kathiawar.

Still, it could be worse. Whenever the BCCI announces a squad, there's always a few who write in asking "Why no X?" when X has been injured for the past year.

Posted by InsideHedge on (November 30, 2013, 17:22 GMT)

@ aditya.pidaparthy: True but I think it's fair to say that even if Ranji could have, he wouldn't have :)) I don't know if Duleep was a chip off the old uncle's block. Both of these have been honoured by Indian cricket by naming the two major domestic competitions after them so I think fair's fair.

Posted by android_user on (November 30, 2013, 17:21 GMT)

Great to learn about the rich but untold cricketing tradition of Kathiawar.Guha would have barely been one year or so old when Vinoo Mankad played his last test.Yet the true historian in him makes him honour the unseen quite unequivocally by rating Mankad higher than Kapil and Sachin in terms of utility as a player.This is the way we remember Don Bradman and Gary Sobers as the greatest to have played the game,even though we have not seen them play.This is the power and magic of History.

Posted by Nampally on (November 30, 2013, 17:12 GMT)

A great historical Nostalia to Kathiawari Cricketers, Mr. Guha! I had seen Vinoo Mankad & Salim Durrani in action in my school days. Mankad of course is the greatest all rounder that India & arguably the world has produced. His memorable Lords Test with 72 & 184 in batting interposed with about 92 overs bowling capturing 5 for 196 may be greatest one man show in the Test history. I heard a lot of Amar Singh- also an all rounder- but known mainly for bowling. Salim Durrani could spin the side out given half a turner! R.Jadeja is similar to Durrani's but does not spin as well. Batting wise they are both good strikers of the ball. Pujara is more in the footsteps of Ranji & Duleep- although neither played for India. Pujara has the similar delicacy of wrist work exhibited by Ranji with his trade mark leg glance. He will certainly carry the Kathiawari torch as the future top Indian batsman in Tests. I also like to include Contractor, Wadekar, Sardesai, Engineer & Kunderam as Mumbai greats!

Posted by android_user on (November 30, 2013, 16:43 GMT)

Beautiful piece. A total departure from the usual analysis and features. Great reading. More such articles please.

Posted by VBK198 on (November 30, 2013, 15:52 GMT)

You forgot one among the jamnagar's finest... Ajaysinh Jadeja

Posted by   on (November 30, 2013, 14:48 GMT)

For the Saurashtra 11, Given the batting depth, I would pick Karsan Ghavri ahead of Salim Durrani. For Mumbai - I would pick Patil ahead of Vengsarkar.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2013, 13:19 GMT)

After Indrajitsinhji, another cricketer from Kathiawar did play for India and incidentally still holds a world record, actually two of them. The person I'm referring to is Yajurvindra Singh Bilkha who played 5 Tests for India in the 70s in one of which he held 5 catches in the first innings and 7 catches in the match, both of which are world records. He played for Maharashtra in the ranji Trophy for much of his career and later played for Saurashtra briefly. He was a royal, too.

Posted by tushar7msdian on (November 30, 2013, 12:32 GMT)

Great article Mr. Gooha sir..... you makes me proud for being Kathiavari.... I am also coming from Jamnagar.... I takes coaching in Cricket Bunglow Jamnagar with ravindra Jadeja..... there are several Good players coming from Saurashtra like Arpit vasavda , Sheldon Jeckson , Jaidev Unadkat , Dharmendra sinh Jadea and many athors.....

Great to watch two saurashtra guys playing in starting XI of team india in test, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja.....

Proud to be a Kathiavari....... Love you Kathiawad........

Posted by cricketmad on (November 30, 2013, 12:12 GMT)

Great article. I do sincerely hope that Rohit Sharma will be in the Bombay xi if this was written again in 10 yrs. I have to however question the selective use of fielding prowess. Pujara and Jadeja are judged on their current fielding/batting standards whereas Tendulkar is being judged on his fielding at retirement. Don't you remember Sachin's running catch at deep mid off at Lords when he was 17. Also some of the nimble fielders of the 50s may not be considered nimble in 2000. Still a brilliant piece of cricket writing in the age of "hyperbole" commentary and writing

Posted by humdrum on (November 30, 2013, 11:37 GMT)

Good imagination and nostalgia.Yes,if we were to ignore loyalties to the country and the partition of the same,the teams would be fascinating opposition.But the likes of Vijay Hazare and Karsan Ghavri being omitted would sadden the fans.

Posted by bikku on (November 30, 2013, 11:00 GMT)

Mr. Guha you should have also mentioned that Kathiwari captain who willingly or unwillingly denied Nimbalkar to make world record of highest individual score in first class cricket.

Posted by aditya.pidaparthy on (November 30, 2013, 10:55 GMT)

Ranji died one year after India played its first test match. He was 59 when India first played tests. Duleepsinh stopped playing cricket in 1932 on doctor's advice, the year India debuted. I am not able to see the logic behind raising the issue that they did not play cricket for India. They could not have even if they wanted.

Posted by balajik1968 on (November 30, 2013, 8:01 GMT)

Actually, Ranji and Duleep's contribution to Indian cricket is pretty dubious. They were brilliant cricketers, but chose to turn their backs on India and both played for England. Maybe they did it to enhance their princely privileges. And yet ironically, two of the premier domestic competitions in India are named after them.

Posted by raj2992 on (November 30, 2013, 7:38 GMT)

The legacy of cricket in Kathiwar is very well described......I think maybe you forgot to mention the name of Karsan Ghavri who is from Rajkot, in this article. He was one of finest all-rounder who represented India.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2013, 7:07 GMT)

very nice article informative & contents are truthful & accurate (omkar)

Posted by   on (November 30, 2013, 5:59 GMT)

Nice to read out, its wonderful for all Kathiawar People...nice article from the Grate Ranjitsinhji to Cheteshwar Pujara

Posted by InsideHedge on (November 30, 2013, 5:42 GMT)

What a GREAT read, thank you sir!

Durani was a flamboyant star in his heyday with a penchant for hitting sixes at the request of fans, never got to see him but he would have been a bigger star had he played from 80s onwards. I had no idea about the Mohammad brothers connection at all, so glad to read this piece.

Here's to Pujara and Jadeja, please carry the torch and be aware of your great legacy.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2013, 5:35 GMT)

Very beautifully written article indeed! Lovely!

However, Kathaiwar has been proud of producing another great utility player - Karsan Ghavri. A bit disappointed that there was no mention of him in the entire article.

But then, a beautiful piece on a star studded line up from a region that has produced the finest cricketers way back from the 18th Century! :)

Posted by   on (November 30, 2013, 5:27 GMT)

Thoroughly enjoyable read. And some serious names in that imaginary contest. True to any All Time XI discussion, I have one minor gripe - why does Naren Tamhane make the 'keeper spot for Mumbai ahead of Engineer?

Posted by Sir_Ivor on (November 30, 2013, 4:39 GMT)

Incidentally, Arjun Kumar, the first time that Walter Hammond faced Amar Singh in a Test in England, he said of him," the ball came of the wicket like the crack of doom" or some such words. That will bring out the fact that most people do not know how fast and good the bowlers of that generation were.In fact Mohammed Nissar and Amar Singh were really fast from all accounts. Vinoo Mankad was quite simply the finest allrounder India has had ever just as Subhash Gupte was probably the Shane Warne of his time. Salim Durrani was one of a kind truly. I am glad that Pujara and Jadeja are carrying on that legacy. The flag still flies and the city hasn't fallen !

Posted by VivekOza on (November 30, 2013, 4:00 GMT)

A lovely-read indeed, took me back down the memory lanes of my home town, Jamnagar!

Before Independence, Nawanagar solely participated in Ranji Trophy and won it once too, in 36/37. Its shield is still being put into display at "Cricket Bungalow" , inspiring many young cricketers who play there.

After Jadeja, off-spinner Vishal Joshi is promising cricketer who could don India colours, he has slightly unorthodox action and spins bowls a great deal.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2013, 3:59 GMT)

Lovely article. What a star-studded Kathiawari XI!

Posted by   on (November 30, 2013, 3:57 GMT)

Interesting to note that both teams are heavy on batting and wafer-thin on bowling. If anything, Kathiawar has the better balanced attack.

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