Birthday special: KS Ranjitsinhji – 6 facts about the Indian cricket legend


Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji is a name that has been forgotten into oblivion. A pioneering cricketer who changed the landscape of the sport in India, the Indian prince was regarded as the finest batter of his generation who redefined stroke-making with his inventive batting technique in the late 1800s. He represented England in Test cricket and played county cricket for Sussex. On the eve of his 150th birth anniversary, here are some interesting facts about the Indian prince.

1. Faced racial prejudice in England

Ranjitsinhji was a prolific run scorer in county cricket but despite his best efforts, he was excluded from the Test against a touring Australian side in 1896. Lord Harris, the MCC chief, was the principal selector and was not in favour of playing a black, or ‘birds of passage’ as he referred to them.

2. The first Indian ever to play a Test

The Indian prince became the first Indian cricketer to play a Test match when England faced Australia in a Test in 1896. He scored 62 and 154 not out in his first outing in Test cricket against a menacing Australian attack. India’s prestigious domestic competition, The Ranji Trophy, is named after him to celebrate his legacy in cricket.

3. Only batter to register two centuries on a single day

Ranji got his name into the record books in 1896 after scoring two hundreds at Hove on a single day, becoming the first cricketer ever to do. He scored 100 and 125 not out in the match in a single day, a feat nobody else has ever repeated.

4. Played international cricket for England

His international career was short-lived due to several factors, but in his brief time with the English national team, he stamped his authority with nearly 1000 runs in just 15 matches. He registered two centuries and six half-centuries during his stint with the national team.

5. A run machine at the domestic level

The Indian prince was nothing short of a behemoth in the domestic circuit, amassing 24692 runs with 72 centuries to his name. Such was his mastery with the bat that he registered 1000 runs in a county season on ten consecutive occasions.

6. Inventor of the leg glance

Ranji divided opinions when he burst onto the scene with his unorthodox and instinctive shots of the back foot. But it was the leg glance that was his bread and butter and was used frequently by the right-handed batter. He is credited as the inventor of the late cut and the leg glance, which he played with unmatched nonchalance.