Rajasthan finally live their Maharaja's dream | india | Hindustan Times
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Rajasthan finally live their Maharaja's dream

india Updated: Jan 15, 2011 23:49 IST
Kalim Khan

Dreams come true. Even though they might take over half a century.

Maharaja Bhagwat Singh, the late ruler of Udaipur, had formed the Rajasthan state cricket team in 1958-59 to compete in the Ranji Trophy.

In a battle of one-upmanship against Maharaja Fateh Singh Gaekwad, he wanted to beat Baroda, which had entered Ranji Trophy in the 40s with a bang, and went on to win the Ranji title five times.

But then during his lifetime, it was a case of so near yet so far.

Try as he might, his wards couldn't get past the final. Renowned cricketers like Salim Durrani, Ramesh Shah, Arjun Naidu, Chandu Joshi and BB Nimbalkar were hired and although they made the final eight times, they couldn't lay their hands on the coveted silverware.

However, on Saturday, Bhagwat Singh's dream finally materialised. Rajasthan won the Ranji Trophy for the first time and they edged out Baroda in the final. Bhagwat Singh's son-in-law Lakshyaraj Singh said, "I am very happy and I amd at a loss for words. The dream of my grandfather has finally come true." Lakshyaraj is also the president of the Udaipur Cricket Association.

The importance of Bhagwat Singh's decision to form the team lies in the fact that it provided state players an opportunity to have a sense of belonging. Before the team's formation, Rajasthan cricketers used to play for other teams like Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Players like Kishan Rungta, who used to play for Maharashtra, came to play for Rajasthan and then even became an administrator. Hanumant Singh used to play for Madhya Pradesh.

There was Rajputana, which had been playing since 1935-36, but it comprised generally of the whites.

Windfall for players
The success in the final has brought in a windfall for the Rajasthan cricketers. The Chief Minister has announced a Rs 1 crore award for the team while the Rajasthan Cricket Association matched the offer. The state government has also sanctioned 16.8 hectares of land for a cricket stadium with state of the art facilities at Chomu near Jaipur.