Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji
September 10, 1872, Sarodar, Kathiawar, India
April 02, 1933, Jamnagar Palace, India, (aged 60y 204d)
Also Known As
Colonel His Highness Shri Sir Ranjithsinji Vibhaji, Maharajah Jam Saheb of Nawanag
Right hand Bat
Ranji, an Indian prince, was probably one of the finest batsmen of all time, not only in terms of runs scored but also because he brought new strokes to the game. His keen eye, unorthodoxy and speed of reaction meant that introduced the late cut and leg glance, as well as the art of back-foot defence. He arrived at Cambridge in 1891 (where he acquired the nickname "Smith") never having played an organised game and won a Blue in his final summer. After serving his qualification, he marked his debut for Sussex at Lord's in May 1895 with 77 and 150 against MCC. On his Test debut against Australia, at Old Trafford in 1896, he scored 62 and 154 not out. From 1895 he exceeded 1000 runs in 10 successive seasons, passing 3000 in 1899 and 1900. He was as prolific overseas, scoring 1157 runs at 60.89 on his one trip to Australia in 1897-98. In that Golden Age his name was synonymous with Sussex and his close friend, CB Fry. He led the county for five years (1899-1903) but at the end of 1904 he returned to India to deal with increasing domestic responsibilities, and played only two more complete summers (1908 and 1912), again passing 1000 runs each time. He last, and ill-advised - hurrah came in 1920 when he turned out three times for Sussex. But he was almost 48, overweight, and cruelly had lost an eye in a shooting accident. His 39 runs at 9.75 were a sad finale. Away from cricket, Ranji had become Maharaja Jam Saheb of Nawanagar in March 1907, and was by all accounts a popular and benevolent ruler. His work with the Chamber of Princes and in the League of Nations after the Great War was also vital. "When Ranji passed out of cricket," wrote Sir Neville Cardus, "a wonder and a glory departed from the game forever." In 1897 Ranji produced what is generally considered to be one of cricket's classic works, The Jubilee Book of Cricket. His nephew, KS Duleepsinhji, also played for England.
Batting & Fielding