The Ranji Trophy season 2010-2011 kicked off on Monday 1 November to the stunning news of Hyderabad slumping to the lowest ever Ranji total at the hands of an 18-year old debutant pace bowler, Deepak Chahar from Rajasthan. Hyderabad made just 21 runs in their 1st innings in which Pankaj Singh bowled 8 overs (for 2 wickets) and Chahar bowled 7.3 overs for his 8 wickets! Early on the 3rd morning of the match, Hyderabad folded to an embarrassing innings defeat with Chahar getting 4 2nd Innings wickets!
The Ranji Trophy 2010-2011 announced its arrival and so did young Deepak Chahar! Although, as Sanjay Subrahmanyan says on Twitter, “Chahar gets 8 on his Ranji debut! If he had got even 4 on an IPL debut, he’d be in the Indian team! Right?”
Such is life. But for us, what this has done is that we will add Deepak Chahar to the list of players we will be “watching” in this Ranji season. This list of players includes (in no particular order):
Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Abhinav Mukund, S. Badrinath, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary, Naman Ojha, Wriddhiman Saha, Dinesh Karthik*, Monish Mishra, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, Sourabh Tiwary*, Yusuf Pathan, Yuvraj Singh. Irfan Pathan, Robin Uthappa, Ambati Rayudu, Pankaj Singh (Deepak Chahar’s bowling partner in the Rajasthan team), Deepak Chahar, Umesh Yadav, Pradeep Sangwan, Abhimanyu Mithun, Ashish Nehra, Ashok Dinda, Jaydev Unnadkat, RP Singh, Praveen Kumar, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja*, Piyush Chawla, Iqbal Abdulla, Sarabjit Ladha.
A few other points:
- We do not intend “following” players like Cheteshwar Pujara, Amit Mishra, Suresh Raina and M. Vijay who have “already made it” (thus, it is likely that these above-mentioned players will play very few Ranji games this season anyway).
- The sad reality is the paucity of spinners in the above list.
- The players with a * by their name are in the list for their curiosity value and answers the questions: “Why are they valued?“, or “What do the selectors see in them that we do not?” or “How do they make it to where they are?“.
Other than his hairstyle which reminds us of a young Dhoni and a few thwacks in the IPL, one might, for example, wonder what Sourabh Tiwary’s credentials are? Sourabh Tiwary plays in the Plate League (against teams like Tripura, J&K, etc) and has an average of 48.9 (with 6 centuries and a highest score of 169) after 21 matches. We are not sure that that is good enough for a Ranji Plate player. More importantly, we are not sure that that is good enough to propel him into the National team.
We will post an occasional column titled “Ranji Watch” every now and then — perhaps even after each round — to see how our “watched” players fared.
In a recent article, Cricinfo featured a sharper list containing only 12 players. Their list of “hopeful men” included Ashish Nehra, R. Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, Jaidev Unnadkat, Irfan Pathan, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Piyush Chawla, Abhinav Mukund and Virat Kohli. We felt that our list of 34 players, which includes all 12 names of hopefuls from the Cricinfo list, is larger and more inclusive.
Most of the above 34 players have had a steady — if not reasonable or excellent — outing in the 1st round Ranji games. Virat Kohli has scored a century. Shikar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, et al made a few runs. Pankaj Singh and Deepak Chahar were part of Hyderabad’s embarrassing rout. We will wait for the 1st round to finish before posting some observations.