Rajneesh Gurbani enters the big league after Ranji Trophy final hat-trick | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Rajneesh Gurbani enters the big league after Ranji Trophy final hat-trick

Rajneesh Gurbani’s magnificent hat-trick for Vidarbha in the final of the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy against Delhi has propelled him on to the big stage and could lead to big gains in the upcoming Indian Premier League auctions

cricket Updated: Dec 30, 2017 16:45 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rajneesh Gurbani,Ranji Trophy final,Rajneesh Gurbani Cricket
Rajneesh Gurbani took six wickets for Vidarbha in the Ranji Trophy final against Delhi. (PTI)

When it comes to pace bowling and Nagpur, the name Umesh Yadav is synonymous for putting the city on the cricketing map. In 2017-18, that mantle has been snatched in spectacular style by the exploits of Rajneesh Gurbani, the 24-year-old right-arm pacer. (HIGHLIGHTS)

Vidarbha’s march to their maiden Ranji Trophy final has been primarily due to Gurbani’s exploits. In the knock-out games particularly this season, Gurbani has been the X-factor.

He showed his worth in the semi-final against Karnataka. After being bowled out for 185, Karnataka managed a lead of 116, with Gurbani being the star with 5/94. Vidarbha fought back and set Karnataka a target of 198.

Gurbani produced an exhibition of swing bowling to rip through the Karnataka batting. When he dismissed Sreenath Aravaind for 2, his haul of 7/68 and his total of 12/162 in the match had helped Vidarbha create history by entering the Ranji final for the first time. In the final against Delhi at the Holkar stadium in Indore, the youngster took his bowling to the next level and displayed a magnificent attitude.

After taking the wickets of skipper Rishabh Pant and Himmat Singh, Gurbani walked off the field with an ankle injury and seemed to be in discomfort. There were doubts whether he would be able to bowl on day 2. However, in a spell that showcased his true talent, Gurbani entered an elite list of players by becoming only the second bowler in Ranji history to take a hat-trick in the final. His spell of 6/59 has enhanced his credentials and put him in good stead for the future.

Gurbani’s magnificent performance in just his second first-class season has opened the door for big gains in the upcoming Indian Premier League auctions. In the past, several small names have sprung a surprise with big bucks.

READ | Rajneesh Gurbani takes hattrick, puts Vidarbha on top in 2017 Ranji Trophy final

Nathu Singh, a son of a labourer in a wire factory near Jaipur, was picked up for Rs 3.2 crore in the 2017 auction. Mohammed Siraj, the son of an auto rickshaw driver, was taken by Sunrisers Hyderabad for 2.6 crores. KC Cariappa, Murugan Ashwin and Kishore Kamath are other examples of small names raking in big bucks.

However, on the sheer weight of Gurbani’s performance in the Ranji Trophy, the pacer, who studied Civil Engineering and also played badminton and football, is set to make big gains in the near future. If Vidarbha clinch the Ranji Trophy title, it will make Rajneesh Gurbani a household name not just in Nagpur, but also set a buzz in Indian cricket circles.

First Published: Dec 30, 2017 15:20 IST