Stories in Indian cricket are never short of unsung heroes. There are souls who have given everything in their lives to cricket but never got due recognition. One such player is Jalaj Saxena, the 32-year-old all-rounder from Madhya Pradesh to plays for Kerala and India colts. Having made his first-class debut way back in 2005, Jalaj never got an India call but that never stopped him from giving his best in domestic cricket. On Monday, Jalaj went on to script something unique to add yet another feather to his illustrious career crown.
Jalaj, who has been conferred the prestigious Lala Amarnath Award for being the best all-rounder in Ranji Trophy for the last four seasons, became the first uncapped Indian to take over 300 wickets besides scoring 6,000 runs in first-class cricket. He found his name in the record books during the Duleep Trophy match between India Red and India Blue in which he was representing the blue team. Though Jalaj scored a naught in the only innings he played, he claimed seven scalps in the game that was drawn to take his wicket tally to 300-plus.
Jalaj 19th player to enter the elite club
With this, Jalaj becoming the 19th Indian overall to achieve the feat. The list has come illustrious names like Lala Amarnath, Vijay Hazare, Kapil Dev, Polly Umrigar, Vinu Mankad, Syed Abid Ali, Madan Lal, and others but Jalaj is unique for being the only member of the club to have never played for India. Current India coach Ravi Shastri is also a member of the elite list.
Till now, Jalaj has played in 113 first-class games in which he has scored 6,044 runs and taken 305 wickets. He has scored 14 centuries and taken 17 five-wicket hauls. Yet, the man never got a national call to the shock of many.
“I knew I completed 300 wickets but I did not know that I am the only uncapped player among the legends. I feel honored to learn that I am in the same list with Polly Umrigar, Lala Amarnath, Kapil Dev etc,” Jalaj, who had expressed his frustration over being ignored for India ‘A’ squad in May, was quoted as saying by the Sportstar.
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