Sharath slams ton on Ranji debut

Sharath slams ton on Ranji debut

B R Sharath

After nearly two decades, B R Sharath became the first batsman from Karnataka to score a century on his Ranji Trophy debut, joining the list of other eight batsmen that includes the legendary G R Viswanath. The last Karnataka batsman to score a 100 on debut was Barrington Rowland against Kerala in 1999.

At the Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium here on Wednesday, Sharath struck a stroke-filled 103 (161b, 20x4) and forged a 160-run partnership with another youngster D Nischal (113) against defending champions Vidarbha.

The duo helped Karnataka post 378 all out and claim a 71-run first innings lead in their Group ‘A’ Ranji Trophy tie.

“I really worked hard for this special moment,” said a delighted Sharath after the day’s play. “When you move to the senior side, you have to raise your standards.”

I had the hunger in me and I very badly wanted this kind of a start. I am glad I got it,” said the wicketkeeper-batsman.

When his turn came to bat, it wasn’t an ideal situation. Karnataka, in response to Vidarbha’s 307 all out, were in a spot of bother at 149/5 with senior batsmen like R Samarth, Karun Nair and Stuart Binny back in the hut. Sharath’s partner in the middle, Nischal, was just four matches old. 

But Sharath embraced the pressure. The 22-year-old, who appears to have a natural instinct to put pressure on the bowlers right from the start, batted with aplomb. His fearless cricket forced the Vidarbha bowlers to bowl too many loose balls.

“Stroke-making comes naturally to me. I didn’t allow myself to get nervous. I was happy to have got my chance and I just wanted to make it count,” said Sharath, son of BCCI umpire B K Ravi who was busy officiating a Ranji match in Bhubaneswar. 

Sharath is currently enjoying a fantastic run. The right-hand batsman had shown his flair in the recently concluded Vijay Hazare Trophy where he scored a sparkling 70 against a strong Punjab side at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru. Ahead of his Ranji Trophy debut, Sharath was riding high on confidence after helping Karnataka pull off an improbable win against Jharkhand with a 62-ball 109 in the Col CK Nayudu U-23 tournament.

Sharath had replaced C M Gautam, a great servant of Karnataka cricket for many years.

Karnataka will be hoping the youngster builds on his memorable start.