With all our attention solely focused on international cricket, we miss out the cradle where the greats of the game take their baby steps towards success. Spanning from the prestigious Sheffield Shield to County cricket, the birth of these glorious cricketers who later goes on to leave an indelible mark on the sport rise from these domestic tournaments.
India is also known for its domestic frays that include the likes of Duleep Trophy and Ranji Trophy.
Ranji Trophy being the most significant of all, is mainly eyed by the selectors to choose talents that are going to represent the nation in the future.
However, it is not necessary that the ones who go onto to be the kings in those domestic affairs will also turn out to be the champions of the game in the international circuit. We will take a look at five cricketers who held the highest average in Ranji Trophy.
1. Vijay Merchant
Despite only making the cut for 10 Test matches in the international format, Merchant’s success in domestic cricket is still peerless.
Don Bradman is the only cricketer who is ahead of Merchant in terms of domestic cricket. He played for Bombay in first class cricket and his staggering average in first class was 71.64.
Scoring a staggering 3639 runs in Ranji, Merchant averaged at 98.35.
Playing 150 matches and plundering 13470 runs, Merchant set a milestone which is still to be broken in Indian first class cricket and ideally no cricketer has shown that much promise in terms of domestic affairs.
2. Sachin Tendulkar
Another shining appelation from the ranks of Bombay, present day Mumbai, Tendulkar made it big in every format of the game that he has ever played.
Chosen for the first time in 1987, he couldn’t feature in any of the starting line ups.
However, after he made his debut in the next year, he went on to score a blistering century in his very first game.
That was the birth of a star and he carried on with his remarkable batting prowess thereafter.
He managed to rack up 4281 runs in Ranji Trophy at a stunning average of 85.62.
3. V.V.S Laxman
A pillar in Indian cricket, known for his elegance and classic batting that has bailed India out of a thousand quagmires, Laxman’s initial appearance in Ranji Trophy wasn’t as great as you thought would be. After being dismissed for a duck in his first Ranji innings followed by a lackadaisical 17 in the second, Laxman was axed from the team.
He shortly revived himself as his heroics in the Duleep Trophy made him a hot contender for the next year’s Ranji campaign.
Post his Duleep Trophy performances, he never had to look back as his faring in the Ranji Trophy had a paradigm shift in it and his performances were better than ever.
When he finally called it a day for his state, he has amassed 5764 runs with a brilliant average of 80.61.
4. Ajay Sharma
A sheening name from the ranks of Delhi, Ajay Sharma played a pivotal role in Ranji Trophy.
With 31 centuries and 7438 runs, Sharma notched up a sublime average of 78.29.
Despite being a hero in his own terms in domestic affairs, Ajay Sharma had a tragic end to his career after he was implicated in a match-fixing scandal.
5. Ashok Mankad
This man made a good name for himself playing for his nation intially. However, after stiff competitions that witnessed Chetan Chauhan sustaining himself as a brilliant opening partner to Sunil Gavaskar, Mankad had to be sated with domestic cricket.
Scoring at an average of 76.81, Mankad was a significant name for Bombay. He was the state’s heavy artillery due to his blistering stroke play. His records also included parallels to that of Vijay Harare.