Thriteen round one games witnessed several hundred and some five-fors. But Ranji Trophy isn’t always about numbers, Sriram Veera tells you what the scorecards didn’t.
Mohammad Kaif climbs Mt. 10,000
For a man who was gently mocked by Nana Patekar’s character in the movie Taxi no 9211 – he urges his son to not to field but bat (“Tujhe Sachin ban-na hai, Kaif nahi”), Mohammad Kaif is having the last laugh. Well, almost. Kaif, who was dropped from Indian team two matches after he got a Test ton, made 27 in Chhattisgarh’s first innings but more importantly brought up his 10,000 th run in first-class cricket. “An honour to be a part of the 10k club,” Kaif would tweet at the end of the day. Another contemporary of his, Parthiv Patel, reached 9000 runs during the first-round game against Baroda.
Curse of 99
According to Vidarbha Ranji team coach Paras Mhambrey, Faiz Fazal is a “nice guy” with a “great sense of humour” . The journey man cricketer who debuted in 1993 would need that humour to get over the fact he was out on 99 for the second time in his Ranji career. He was run out against Odisha in the first round game. He has also been out for 98 once. Only Rajat Bhatia has got out more times on 99 (thrice). It’s been a good year, though, for Fazal who made his India debut in Zimbabwe and even hit an unbeaten 55 in his solitary outing. But harsh as it may be, it won’t be a shock if he doesn’t play for India again. Another one who missed a ton narrowly in the first round was Railways’ Shivakant Shukla – he hit 128 in the first innings against Punjab, and got to 97 in the second before he was bowled by Punjab’s Sidharth Kaul.
Karthik’s rich haul
In the movie Dhoni the untold story, there wasn’t much untold stuff but it did have mention (twice) of Dinesh Karthik. The selectors were shown discussing his name, and couple of wise men were seen pinging his name but are eventually overruled by senior selector Kiran More (who plays himself). Karthik of course has no one but himself to blame for the way his international career panned out, but was in good form behind the stumps for Tamil Nadu in the first round. He registered eight dismissals in the game against Mumbai, a personal record for him. One more than his previous best.
“Delivered in his first game after been out from cricket since 5 months due to surgery,” tweeted Siddesh Lad about Abishek Nayar’s rescue act against Tamil Nadu in a thriller. Chasing the 97-run target, Mumbai were struggling at 24 for 3 when Nayar walked. However, it was soon 35 for 5 and then 70 for 7. “We were perhaps a wicket-away from losing. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel the game slipping away,” Nayar would say later, but he played a lovely cameo to take Mumbai home. Returning from a lengthy lay-off after an ankle injury, Nayar hit a quickfire 45 with five fours and two sixes, and stayed unbeaten to guide Mumbai to a win with two wickets intact.
Yuvraj fails again
Yuvraj Singh, who said he looks forward to playing in the 2019 world cup, missed out in both innings against Railways (35-ball 9 and 33-ball 17) but he couldn’t be accused of carrying on listlessly as a captain. He helped out his team-mates on and off the field – he even had a one-hour batting-training session with Manan Vohra, guiding the younger team-mate.