As fans, during my growing up years, it was a treat to watch the Fab 4 of Indian batting play together, the strongest Indian Test batting ever was. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly and VVS Laman formed the nucleus of the Indian batting order. Add to it, the ferocious Virender Sehwag and it was almost impossible for anybody else to get in this team. Indian fans would forever stay indebted to these stars of Indian cricket but what it also meant was that various other dedicated servants of the game did not get their due. Players like Wasim Jaffer who can be termed as the ‘Bradman’ of India’s domestic cricket and has colossal numbers to back the same couldn’t do justice to their talent and had a short international career. He is still a pillar of Indian cricket and recently helped Vidarbha lift the Ranji Trophy. Amol Mazumdar had it even worse, the second highest run scorer in Ranji Trophy couldn’t even make the India team once. These are just examples, India had many such Mazumdars and Jaffers. One such player is Madhya Pradesh’s Devendra Singh Bundela. The stalwart of Madhya Pradesh cricket finally decided to hang up his boots on Saturday.
Hailing from Indore, Madhya Pradesh, Devendra Singh Bundela’s first major tournament was as a member of the India Under-19 team that faced Australia in 1995. Immediately after that, he made his first-class debut against Tamil Nadu in the domestic season that year. He continued playing for Madhya Pradesh and played 164 first-class matches in which he scored 10004 runs at an average of 43.68, with the help of 26 centuries and 54 fifties. His record in India’s domestic cricket can be counted at par with the likes of Wasim Jaffer and Amol Mazumdar. His domestic career lasted over a period of more than 20 years and he broke myriads of records during the period. Devendra Singh Bundela also featured in 145 Ranji Trophy matches which is the most for a cricketer in the tournament’s history. Wasim Jaffer is second in the list with 138 Ranji Trophy matches. His tally of 9,201 runs in the Ranji Trophy is the third-highest in the tournament, behind Jaffer (10,738) and only a run less than Amol Muzumdar (9,202). It is a pity that such a colossal figure of Indian domestic cricket did not even come close to a national selection. Madhya Pradesh made it to the 1998-1999 Ranji Trophy finals and many believe that was the closest Bundela ever was to a national selection. Had they won the finals against Karnataka, probably things would have been different.
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