Deepak Chahar may have hit headlines but his eight-wicket burst is not the best performance on a debut innings in the Ranji Trophy.
The record belongs to Vasant Ranjane. The former India and Maharashtra fast bowler had figures of nine for 35 against Saurashtra more than 52 years ago.
The record was set at the NDA ground in Khadakvasla, Pune, in the 1956-57 season.
Ranjane’s record haul also had a hat-trick.
He could have had all ten wickets if not for a miss in the slips. Legendary Bapu Nadkarni took the other wicket in the Saurashtra innings which folded for 83. Ranjane went on to take four more wickets in the second innings to help Maharashtra post an easy win.
Reminded of his 57-year-old feat, Ranjane could not stop talking in excitement. A former fitter with the Indian Railways, the 73-year-old did not know the importance of a Ranji Trophy game.
“What’s his name and where is he from?” he asked about the Rajasthan debutant. “I remember that I had a record. But I wasn’t educated enough to know about Ranji Trophy or Test cricket.
Khaali bhagwaan ka naam leke bowling daalta (The only thing I knew was to bowl by taking god’s name),” he told DNA. Incidentally, Chahar was also on a hat-trick but could not complete it. “I was not well on the first day of the match. I did not tell anyone.
I would have been rested otherwise. It was raining and I hoped that the match would start late but surprisingly it began on time. I started bowling on a wet wicket and to my surprise the ball was moving well,” Ranjane recalled.
“I was enjoying my bowling. There was pus on my leg due to bowling constantly, but I kept bowling and got nine wickets. I would have got the 10th wicket too, but one catch went over the slips. Nadkarni, who was bowling from the other end, got that wicket,” he added.
Though he gets pension from the BCCI, his life has not been easy. “Dad has suffered a lot. It pains when he tells us stories about how he has gone through his life,” said son Subhash, who played Ranji Trophy for Maharashtra.