Over the years, the bowlers produced by India have not created an impact in first-class cricket compared to what the batsmen managed to do. Even most of the Indian domestic competitions are known to create big scores by the batsmen and record team totals. However, the Indian bowlers do hold some of the unique records in the history of first-class cricket. There is a good possibility of them owning few more records in the coming years with the inclusion of new teams in the Ranji Trophy.
Here we look at some of the unique records created by Indian bowlers in first-class cricket:
3. Hat-trick in the very first over
The 2019/20 Ranji Trophy witnessed a variety of records but Ravi Yadav’s hat-trick on his first-class debut remains the most unique one. The left-arm pacer from Madhya Pradesh made his debut at the Holkar Stadium against Uttar Pradesh.
The UP team had to bat about 8 overs on the first day after the home team were bowled out for 230 on a seaming track. Ravi picked the wickets of Aryan Juyal, Ankit Rajpoot and Sameer Rizvi on the 3rd, 4th and 5th balls of the first over he bowled.
Thus, Ravi Yadav became the first player in the first-class history to claim a hat-trick in their first over on debut. Ravi finished with a 5-wicket haul as Uttar Pradesh were bowled out for 216 and conceded a 14-run first-innings lead. However, Ravi Yadav’s efforts went in vain as Uttar Pradesh won the game by 7 wickets. The hosts Madhya Pradesh collapsed from 145/3 to 160/10 and set a target of only 175 to the visiting team.
2. Most consecutive 6-ball maiden overs
Bapu Nadkarni is well known for his economical spell during the 1964 Chennai Test against England where he delivered a record 21 consecutive maiden overs. This is also a record when it comes to first-class cricket as Nadkarni’s 21 overs are the most consecutive 6-ball overs bowled by any player in this format. The record was only an over away when the Madhya Pradesh’s left-arm spinner Manish Majithia recorded figures of 20-20-0-1 in a Ranji Trophy game in 1999/00 season.
Manish didn’t concede a run in the 20 overs he bowled during the following-on innings of Railways. The Railways team had a deficit of 322 runs to clear from the first-innings and were put to follow-on. They batted out 109 overs to draw the match where they scored only 89 runs for the loss of five wickets. Ravindra Jadeja is joint 3rd in the list as he delivered 17 consecutive maidens during the 2015 Delhi Test against South Africa where they took up blockathon to save the Test.
Alfred Shaw, however, holds the record for most consecutive maiden overs bowled in first-class cricket. He delivered 23 overs of 4 balls in a row during the 1876 match against South for the North team. Shaw set a record in 1875 with 20 consecutive maiden overs of 4 balls while playing for Nottinghamshire against MCC team. No players other than Nadkarni, Majithia and Alfred have bowled more than 20 maiden overs in a succession irrespective of the number of balls in an over.
1. Most runs conceded and most balls bowled in a match
The 1944/45 Ranji Trophy final between Bombay and Holkar was played in timeless format. It turned out to be a tireless job for the bowlers as 2078 runs were scored across the six days. It was first of the two first-class matches with an aggregate of 2000+ runs. Bombay took a handy 102-run lead in the first innings but had to bat through in the 2nd innings as well since it was a timeless game. Two partnerships of 200+ took them to 764 and set a target of 867 in front of the Holkar team.
Despite an unbeaten 249 from Denis Compton, the chasing team was bowled out for 492 runs and lost the game by 374 runs. Holkar team spent 416.5 overs on the field which is equivalent to four days of play. Being a leg-spinner put a huge workload for Cottari Subbanna Nayudu who bowled a record 917 balls throughout the game. He bowled 64.5 overs in the first innings and 88 during the 2nd essay. The 917 balls he bowled in the match are the most by any player in a first-class match.
Subbanna thus broke the record held by Clarrie Grimmett who delivered 848 balls in the 1925/26 Sheffield Shield match for South Australia against New South Wales. Grimmett conceded 394 runs in that game which was highest until the 1944/45 Ranji final whereas CS Nayudu gave away 428 runs. Nayudu did get compensation for his hard work as he claimed 11 wickets during the match and was easily the standout bowler of the game.
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