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Early days

Rajasthan Cricket Association was founded in 1931 at Ajmer and was earlier also known as the Rajputana Cricket Association. It started participating in the Ranji Trophy tournament from 1935-36 and then also staged matches against a number of visiting foreign teams.

The Journey

In November 1956 the Headquarters of the Association shifted from Ajmer to Udaipur when his highness Maharana Bhatwat Singhji of Mewar became the President. He was a great Patron of the game who revitalised the Association and brought the late Prince Duleep Singhji in September/October 1959 to Udaipur to teach the finer points of the game to Rajasthan cricketers. In fact a trophy in the name of His Highness, Mewar Trophy, is awarded to the zonal champion of Central Zone (comprising of Rajasthan, Indian Railways, Vidarbha, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh).

Finally the name of the Association changed to Rajasthan Cricket Association in 1957 and the headquarters was shifted to Jaipur. In early days of cricket in Rajasthan, cricket was basically played on matting wickets specially at the Mayo College of Ajmer, apart from in Alwar and Udaipur districts.

First Steps

The first visiting team which came to Ajmer after the formation of the Rajputana Cricket Association was that of a team under Douglas Jardine in 1933. Rajputana scored its first victory against any visiting team, when they beat Lord Tennysons’s team by two wickets at Ajmer.

Initially in Rajasthan cricket learning started atAjmer’s Mayo College which was established in 1875. The other place where cricket flourished was at the Central Indian Railway office and workshops of Loco & Carriage. A number of members of the College and Railways, mainly Englishmen, played cricket there under the watchful eyes of the English staff.

As per records maintained in books, the first-ever cricket match on the soil of Rajputana was played in 1887 between Mayo College and Government College at Ajmer. Rajasthan played its first Ranji Trophy match at Indore from 19-21 December 1935, in which they were defeated by 242 runs. The first Ranji Trophy match to be played on Rajasthan soil was from 3-5 December 1936 at Ajmer, when the home team lost by 125 runs.

Some Notable Players

In Jaipur, cricket was kept alive mainly by Ustad Azim Khan at JCC Ground. His dedication showed in the night after each practice session as he used to varnish all old balls with colour boot polish to give new balls to youngsters the next morning.

After the death of Ustad Azim Khan, N D Marshall, a retired Senior. National Institute of Sports (NIS) coach, started coaching in Jaipur. He used to give coaching at SMS Stadium and St Xavier’s school.

Since 1960, Rajasthan produced some outstanding cricketers like Salim Durrani, GR Sunderum, CG Joshi, Raj Singh Dungarpur, Hanumant Singh, Suryaveer Singh, Laxman Singh, Kailash Gattani, Parthsarthy Sharma, Gagan Khoda, Pankaj Singh and Ashok Menaria.

A number of high-class professional players like Vinoo Mankad, Vijay Manjrekar, Subhash Gupte, Praveen Amre, Sanjeev Sharma, Ashish Kapoor, Ajay Jadeja, Venugopal Rao and Hemang Badani were also imported for maintaining the high standard of cricket in Rajasthan.

After the formation of District Cricket Associations in Rajasthan, Senior State Championship for Colvin Shield was started in 1982.

Rajasthan entered the final of Ranji Trophy for the first time in 1961 and have made it to the title round eight more times. Rajasthan very recently entered the final of the Ranji Trophy ‘Plate Group’.

The famous Sawai Man Singh Stadium of Jaipur was inaugurated by India’s first Prime Minister Pandit. Jawaher Lal Nehru on 4 November 1963. Rajasthan has the unique distinction of having 31 cricket grounds where matches conducted by BCCI and organised by the RCA are played.

Detail of finals played by Rajasthan in Ranji Trophy championships.

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