Vasant Ranjane was known as the slightly built and unlikely looking figure for an opening bowler. Through out his life, he relied more on line and length than speed for his wickets, but he could swing both ways and cut the ball off the seam.
Early Life of Vasant Baburao Ranjane
Born on 22nd July, Vasant Baburao Ranjane showed his talents as a young boy. Vasant Baburao Ranjane used to frequent the grounds of the Shivaji Preparatory School grounds in Pune where Madhusudan Rege used to coach. He put this to practice at the Sangam Wadi Union Club, from where he was picked by the talent scouts of the Vilas Club. This paved the way for playing in the first division and first class cricket. Vasant Baburao Ranjane came from a very poor background. He lost his father at the age of 10. After that, he began to work and his mother also worked as a maid in hospital to support themselves. Vasant Baburao Ranjane dropped out of the school after the seventh standard. He managed to find a job as a fitter in the Indian Railways where he continued till 1994, but it was hardly sufficient to maintain his six children in his family.
Career of Vasant Baburao Ranjane
Vasant Baburao Ranjane had a fabulous start to his first class career when he took nine wickets for 35 in an innings. It was on his debut match. There also includes a hat-trick for Maharashtra Cricket Team against Saurashtra Cricket Team in 1956-57. The role was reversed when he played his first Test two years later against West Indies Cricket Team at Kanpur, when his only wicket was the one missed by Subhash Gupte who took 9 wickets for 102 runs.
Vasant Baburao Ranjane in Test Matches
Vasant Baburao Ranjane was recalled to the Test Cricket side three years later against England Cricket team where he took ten wickets in three Test matches. This was followed by the tour to West Indies in 1961-1962. Partly due to the presence of too many all-rounders in the side, Vasant Baburao Ranjane played only in the final Test where he took the wickets of Conrad Hunte, Rohan Kanhai, Gary Sobers and Frank Worrell.
When his sufferings got exposure in the media in the early 1980s, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) allotted him a benefit match at Nagpur Cricket Stadium between Indian Cricket team and the touring West Indies Cricket Team in the year 1983. He also received the payment from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) when his house was damaged in the floods in Pune in the year 1960. His son Subhash played cricket for Maharashtra Cricket Team. He died on 22nd December 2011.
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