And now, a Ranji Trophy in Ireland | cricket | Hindustan Times
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And now, a Ranji Trophy in Ireland

Sixty-five years after Maharaja Ranjitsinhji became the first head of state to visit the country during a difficult time, modern Ireland is returning the favour with an annual cricket trophy named after him kicking off this Sunday.

cricket Updated: Jul 24, 2009 23:12 IST

Sixty-five years after Maharaja Ranjitsinhji became the first head of state to visit the country during a difficult time, modern Ireland is returning the favour with an annual cricket trophy named after him kicking off this Sunday. Yes, the Ranji Trophy has found a home in distant Ireland.

Sunday's match between an Irish and 'Indian' eleven will be played on the historic grounds of Trinity College Dublin, a 417-year-old university situated in the heart of the capital.

The rolling trophy was originally instituted by Anne Chambers, an Irish author who has written an acclaimed book on Ranji's 1924 visit to Ireland. It was developed into a fully fledged trophy by India's Ambassador in Dublin P.S. Raghavan who wants to see it as "a big event within the context of the growing ties between India and Ireland. "This match will now be part of the Irish cricket calendar," said Raghavan, who has persuaded Trinity College Dublin to incorporate the event annually.

"It is in commemoration of Ranji's ability to cross-over racial boundaries that on the publication of my book — Ranji: Maharajah of Connemara — I made available a trophy of Irish silver to be played between an Irish XI and a team comprising Indian nationals living in Ireland," Chambers said..

When Ranji came to Ireland in July, 1924, he was already a legend and, as Maharaja of Nawanagar, he became first head of state to make an official visit to the newly-founded Irish Free State.