On September 10, 1872, the young Indian batsman Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji was born. Ranjitsinhji was, moreover, not only the first well-known Indian cricketer, but ‘the first Indian of any kind to become universally known and popular’ thus giving him the title of “Father of Indian cricket”. Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji was entirely original, and there is nothing in all the history and development of batsmanship with which we can compare him.
His style was a remarkable instance of the way a man can express personal genius in a game not only a personal genius but the genius of a whole race. For Ranjitsinhji’s cricket was of his own country; when he batted a strange light was seen for the first time on English fields, a light out of the East. It was magnificent enchantment, and nothing in cricket before Ranjitsinhji came to us had prepared us for it.
Over the course of four seasons, he has ascended to the pinnacle of achievement and public favour. Before coming to England to finish his studies, the claim that he knew nothing about cricket gained traction when he first started to be discussed. However, Ranjitsinhji has now proven this to be untrue.
Although he had almost all of the real science to learn when he arrived in Cambridge, he had already played the game during his time in India’s school and was far from the complete novice that has occasionally been portrayed. His name was first known to the English public in 1892, and there is little question that he should have been one of the eleven Cambridge students that year. He was a fantastic fielder and made many runs in college matches.
Additionally, he had the honour of playing for the South of England against the Australians at The Oval, and despite the fact that his true prowess as a batsman was not yet widely known, he became a highly well-liked character in the cricket community. He made a very amazing debut for Sussex at Lord’s against the MCC, scoring 150 and 77 not out to nearly win the match, which required Sussex to score 405 runs in the last innings. He continued to have success after success after this point, establishing his status as one of the greatest batsmen still playing today.
W.G. Grace’s prediction that there would not be a batsman like Ranjitsinhji for a hundred years is naturally untestable. Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji, the father of indian cricket was a phenomenal cricketer, one of fewer than a dozen freak performers in the history of the cricket. Ranjitsinhji stands out as a batsman since he is a unique individual with a unique playing style.
Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji was the second after William gilbert grace who opened the leg side as a scoring area, and first tackled the pace of the ball in the power of the stroke, was perhaps the most sensational cricketer ever born, a self-styled prince from Jamnagar with uncanny eyes and wrists.
Ranji’s distinctive batting style, which appeared to emanate from its foreign origins, was actually the product of intense self-discipline. Whether or not this is accurate, Ranji’s ability to divert balls to leg changed the nature of batting forever by allowing players to use previously undiscovered and unoccupied areas of the field.
Towards the end of it in 1912, when he was 39 years old and hadn’t touched a bat for four years, he came sixth in the English county averages and topped the Sussex batting with 50.36, the next best average being 32 from Joe Vine. That’s how measurably good he was. More significant was what he contributed that cannot be quantified statistically.
Ranjitsinhji gave the game some strokes it had never seen before, most notably the leg glance and the late cut, which, perfectly executed, is the most beautiful stroke of them all.
Ranji was the one who turned the backstroke into an offensive move. The premise behind batting up until that point was that the ball had to return roughly in the same direction that it had come to the bat. He altered this by helping the ball somewhat deflect in the same general direction. Ranjitsinhji was probably the most graceful batsman ever seen in one of the most graceful sports, in addition to being groundbreaking.
In recognition of Ranjitsinhji, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala donated the Ranji Trophy. Since the 1934–1935 seasons, the Ranji Trophy tournament is played as the centrepiece of domestic cricket in India. It is a sport played between teams from states and regions that serves as a launching pad for cricketers who go on to represent India internationally.
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