Rajneesh Naresh Gurbani
January 28, 1993, Nagpur, Maharashtra
Right hand bat
Right arm medium
Rajneesh Gurbani is a throwback to a young Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Lithe and wiry, Gurbani relies heavily on swing: his stock delivery is the one that leaves the right-hander. He isn't express - his average speed hovers around 130-135 kph - but manages skiddy pace, which makes him dangerous in front of the stumps. He is also capable of consistently finding subtle movement off the pitch.
A civil engineer by qualification, Gurbani broke into Vidarbha's Ranji Trophy team in the 2016-17 season, on the back of solid performances in the state's Under-19 and Under-23 tournaments. He showed potential early, following up his debut with back-to-back four-wicket hauls against Saurashtra and Delhi.
Those performances provided a preview of Gurbani's talent. The breakout season arrived the following year. Armed with a much-improved inswinger, Gurbani impressed with his composure and initiative to bowl in crunch situations. He was Vidarbha's go-to man, on the road to their maiden Ranji Trophy final, snaring five five-wicket hauls starting from their last group-stage game. He stunned Kerala with four wickets in as many overs in the quarter-final, which sent them hurtling to a 412-run defeat.
He followed up with five-fors in each innings of the semi-final against the favourites Karnataka. That included a career-best 7 for 68 in a dramatic finish on the final morning as Vidarbha won by five runs. The dream run extended into the final against Delhi: Gurbani took a hat-trick on the second morning, becoming only the second bowler to register one in a Ranji final.
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