Full Name: Kumar Shri Ranjitsinghji
Born: September 10, 1872, Sarodar, Kathiawar, India
Bowling style: April 2, 1933, Jamnagar Palace, India
Major teams: England, Cambridge University, London County, Sussex
Batting style: Right-hand bat
Achievements: First Indian to play Test cricket (represented England)
Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji Jadeja, popularly known as K.S. Ranjitsinhji or Ranji, was an Indian Test Cricket player who represented the English Test Cricket team. Considered as one of the finest batsmen of all time, he managed to score big number of runs and also introduced some unique strokes into the game of Cricket. The most famous and important tournament of the Indian Domestic Cricket has been named upon him as Ranji Trophy. Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala initiated the tournament in the year 1935.
Known as the “Black Prince of the Cricketers”, Ranjitsinhji was born on 10th of September 1872 in a royal family in Gujrat. He received his education at Rajkumar College, Rajkot and Harrow & Trinity College, Cambridge Universily.
County Cricket Debut
Ranjitsinghji began playing organized Cricket in Cambridge and started playing for Sussex after completing his education. In his first match for Sussex played against MCC at Lord’s in May 1895, he scored 77 and 150 runs. Charles Burgess Fry, the famous multi-talented Englishman who excelled in sports, politics, academics, teaching, writing and editing became a good friend of Ranjitsinhji.
Test Cricket Debut
He made his debut in Test Cricket with a Test match played between England and Australia on 16th of July 1896 at Manchester. He represented England in the match and became the first Indian ever to play a Test match for England. In this match, he scored 62 runs and 154 runs (Not Out) in both the innings respectively. Ranjitsinhji was famous for his unorthodox techniques and quick reactions.
During a trip to Australia in the year 1897-98, he scored 1157 runs with an average of 60.89 runs. He played for Sussex for a period of 5 years during 1899-1903, but had to return back to India in the year 1904 due to some responsibilities. He couldn’t play for almost 5 years but played during the summers of 1908 and 1912.
The Last Test Match
Ranjitsinhji played his last Test match on the 24th of July, 1902 against Australia at Manchester, and managed to score just 6 runs in the match.
Throughout his Test Cricket career, Ranjitsinhji played 15 Test matches and scored 989 runs including 2 centuries and 6 half-centuries, with an average of 44.95 runs and a high score of 175 runs. He took 1 wicket during his Test Cricket career, giving away 39 runs.
As far as Fist class Cricket is concerned, Ranjitsinhji played 307 First class Cricket matches during his career and scored 24692 runs including 72 centuries and 109 half-centuries, with an average of 56.37 runs and a high score of 285 runs (Not Out).
In March 1907, Ranjitsinhji was declared the Maharaja Jam Saheb of Nawanagar, and proved to be a kind hearted ruler among his subjects. He also represented India at the League of Nations, and was officially called Colonel H.H. Shri Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji, Jam Sahib of Nawanagar. His nephew, Kumar Shri Duleepsinhji also played for England. Ranjitsinhji died on 2nd of April 1933 at Jamnagar Palace, India. He stayed unmarried for his whole life.