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Stats Analysis

Rajinder Goel in numbers - a Ranji giant

The vital stats behind arguably the best bowler to never play for India

Bharath Seervi
Rajinder Goel

Rajinder Goel  •  Mid Day

637 - Rajinder Goel's wickets in Ranji Trophy, the most by a bowler. He played 123 matches across 27 seasons from 1958-59 to 1984-85. He is 107 wickets ahead of the next bowler on the list, S Venkataraghavan (530 wickets). Goel played his debut season for Patiala, then four seasons for Southern Punjab, ten seasons for Delhi, and his last 12 seasons for Haryana.
0 - Goel never played a Test for India, with India relying on a spin quartet of Bishen Bedi, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, Erapalli Prasanna, and Venkataraghavan between mid-1960s and 1970s. The closest Goel got to play for India was in an unofficial Test against Ceylon in 1964-65. Goel is the only one among the top-ten Ranji wicket-takers to have never played international cricket for India. The next highest wicket-taker to have never represented India is Basant Mohanty (367) followed by Padmakar Shivalkar (361). Four players have played more Ranji matches without representing India than Goel's 123: Devendra Bundela (145), Amol Muzumdar (136), Mithun Manhas (135) and Rashmi Parida (126).
2 - Only two players had a longer Ranji career span than Goel's (1958-59 to 1984-85). Chandu Sarwate had a 32-year career (1936-37 to 1968-69) and Gogumal Kishenchand 29 years (1940-41 to 1969-70). Goel played in 27 consecutive seasons, while Sarwate and Kishenchand had missed a few seasons in their careers.
15.34 - Goel's average in his last nine Ranji seasons. He took 319 wickets in 49 matches from 1976-77 onwards, aged above 34. In his first 18 seasons, he had picked 318 wickets in 74 matches at 19.23. He had taken 31 five-fors and 12 ten-wicket hauls in the last nine seasons, compared to 22 five-fors and five 10-wicket hauls in the first 18 seasons. In the nine seasons, he was the top wicket-taker in four seasons, and in four of the other five seasons, he was among the top-five wicket-takers.
Rajinder Goel's Ranji Trophy career
Ranji seasons Mat Wkts Ave 5-Fors 10 WM
 1958-59 to 1975-76  74  318  19.23  22  5
 1976-77 to 1984-85  49  319  15.34  31  12
 Total career  123  637  17.28  53  17
4 - Number of times Goel was the highest wicket-taker in a Ranji Trophy season. He was the top wicket-taker in 1978-79, 1979-80, and his last two seasons 1983-84 and 1984-85. Bishen Bedi is the only other bowler to have topped the wickets chart in four Ranji seasons. Out of the 27 seasons played by Goel, he was among the top five wicket-takers in nearly half of those - 13 times.
53 - Five-fors by Goel in his Ranji career, along with 17 10-wicket hauls - both being a record. Venkataraghavan is next with 45 five-fors and three bowlers are tied on 11 10-wicket hauls behind Goel - Chandrasekhar, Venkataraghavan and Shivalkar.
17.28 - Goel's bowling average in his Ranji career. There are 66 bowlers to have taken 250-plus wickets in Ranji and among them, only two had a better average - Bedi (15.00) and Suresh Luthra (16.92).
48 - Goel's most prolific Ranji season was 1983-84 when he picked up 48 wickets at 14.35 with six five-fors and two 10-wicket hauls. Goel's best innings-figures were 8 for 55, against Railways in 1973-74. His best match figures were 14 for 74 versus Jammu and Kashmir in his last season.

Bharath Seervi is stats sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo @SeerviBharath