Ranjit Singh, the Phenomenon: Â Indian cricket fans are extremely familiar with Ranji Trophy, which is given to the inter-state cricket held annually in India. What does name mean is the most important question for which an answer is to be provided. The name was named after a cricket player called the Great Ranjitsinhji, who played for England in test matches against Australia.
The author of the autobiography of Keith Miller, Mr. Mihir Bose, dropped his idea of writing an autobiography on Ranjit Singh because it is already being done by a popular writer and poet Alan Ross. Mihir Bose did not want to write a second biography. Thereafter, Simon Wilde wrote another book on Ranji, subtitled ‘A genius rich and strange’. These words describe Ranji quite well.
He made batting look very easy. His elegance while executing strokes was loved by one and all. It was Ranjitsinghji, who played late cut and leg glance. He was also at ease traditional square cuts, pulls and drives, but it was his late cut and leg glance made him a superior batsman. Even today these two strokes, played by any batsman, is loved by fans because of grace associated with making those strokes. Lazy elegance is the USP of these shots.
College days in India
Rajkumar College was established at Rajkot in 1870. It was started with an aim to provide education to princes.
Naturally he was good at Athletics, Gymnastics, Cricket, Football, Tennis and other sports that were played in the college. The principal, Mr. Chester Macnaghten, contributed in a big way in shaping Ranjit Singh. In the later years, Mr. Chester Macnaghten was no more to see his student scoring 2780 runs in England. He was very good at academics also, as he went on to win glitter Fergusson Gold Medal for English speaking. During Ranjit Singhâ€™s formative year, there were no cricket coaches in India, making him learn the nuances of cricket by himself.
Cricket At Cambridge
Ranji moved to England in 1880. In the wet summer of that year Ranji had his first experience of watching of top tier cricket. Australia had played matches in England at that time. He may not be aware at that time soon he may have to run shoulders with the players whom he was watching playing in those matches. Little did he imagine that eight years down the line, he would be representing England.
He was by then a good lawn tennis player and his friends and admirers thought that he would be better off making a career out of his skills on the tennis court. The excitement of the Test match made him to prioritize cricket over tennis.
His early days were not spectacular though English showed some curiosity in this young cricketer. It took some work for him to make English took him seriously. His performance at the Parkerâ€™s Piece was so good that rather quickly he progressed through to the Fennerâ€™s. He once scored three centuries in one day at Parkerâ€™s Piece.
After passing into Trinity in 1892, he became a regular in the cricket side. His batting average was 44, which was second only to the future England captain Stanley Jackson.
He made his debut for the senior team at Fennerâ€™s and in In 1893, and scored 18 against CI Thorntonâ€™s XI. The opposition had the presence of Arthur Mold a great bowler. Ranji later said that batting in this match was the only time in his career that he felt nervous.
From then on, Ranji became a regular in the Cambridge first XI. Though he never played a big innings for them, made a mark with his quality of batting.
He scored 400+ FC runs for Cambridge at a modest average of 30, but had a lasting impact in the annals of the universityâ€™s cricket due to the manner in which he batted. In addition, he was a very dependable slip fielder for the university team.
Ranjiâ€™s final summer at Cambridge was a satisfactory one, in more ways than one. He was finally accepted as a leading sportsman and by then he already had started to feel a part of the British society. He was elected to the exclusive Hawksâ€™ Club- the first Indian to do so.
League Of Nations
Great Ranjitsinghji, represented India in the League of Nations
A few years down the line he was widely regarded as the most stylish batsman in the world and even after a centuryâ€™s time, people lavish praise on Ranji, the batsman. Â A great double national cricketer.