At the end of four rounds — some teams have just played three so far — in Ranji Trophy, Delhi (20 points from three games) and Karnataka (18 from 3) are the clear leaders of Group B and Group A respectively while Himachal Pradesh lead Group C with 17 points. We look at the highlights from the tournament so far.
Angry not-so-young man
It’s not known whether Yusuf Pathan is a fan of Inzamam-ul-Haq but he did an Inzy. A young spectator was heckling Yusuf and his team-mates during a Ranji game between Baroda and Jammu & Kashmir at the Reliance stadium in Vadodara. Here is the story in the words of secretary of the Baroda Cricket Association: “This youngster had been shouting and passing indecent comments against Pathan and other players, such as Ambati Rayudu, when they were batting. Pathan was in no mood to tolerate such a behaviour. Thus, after he got out, he called that youngster inside the dressing room and allegedly slapped him twice.” Why did the youngster, after behaving irresponsibly and heckling the team, decide to the take the invitation to go to the dressing room?
The warrior and the miracle
When the ninth wicket fell, and with Railways still needing a run to get even with their total of 213, Tamil Nadu players didn’t think Railways’ Rohan Bhosale would come out to bat. And they started celebrating. Can’t blame them really for Bhosale, who was struck on the neck while fielding at short-leg, was at the hospital. Or so they thought. Even as the celebrations of the lead, and three points that come with it, was on, there was a murmur of applause. As the TN players turned around, they saw a bandaged Bhosale walking out, his pads turned the wrong side, no helmet, no arm-guard . the man had come just in time from the hospital. And soon, he went down on his knee to paddle-scoop two runs to fine-leg and Railways had the lead. “Luckily, I was just about to enter the dressing room when the wicket fell and all the things just happened.” His captain called it a miracle. “The doctors had not given him the permission papers but there he was coming through the back gate just as the wicket fell. It’s like a miracle.”
Sweetest victory so far
It has to be Jammu & Kashmir’s triumph over Mumbai at Wankhede stadium in the first round. Such was the dominance, and Mumbai’s decline, that they didn’t even celebrate wildly at the end of it all. The batsmen hit the winning runs, shook hands with Mumbai players and walked out quietly. It says much about how far J&K have come.
Stop the countdown
Mumbai haven’t been knocked out yet. After the loss to J&K, they collapsed against Railways and it looked like it was all over. Of course it wasn’t. Spurred on by Shardul Thakur, who has starred with bat and ball, they drew one and won one, climbing to the joint second position in the Group A table. And Thakur is topping the wicket-takers table, with 23 wickets at 16.65 and three five-fors. Thakur even hit a hundred and picked up a five-for in a game, the sixth Mumbai player to do so. The last one was Ravi Shastri, way back in 1990-91.
Team to beat
Undoubtedly Karnataka. They have won all three games and in fact have won 10 of their last 11 Ranji games. Interestingly, though, they have just one player from their team in the India Test squad — KL Rahul, who had a nightmarish debut. (ENS)