Shubham Ranjane grew up hearing stories from his grandfather of battles waged on cricket pitches in the Caribbean. “My grandfather who played against the West Indies told me stories about how he bowled to great batsmen like Sir Gary Sobers and Rohan Kanhai, their wonderful batting styles and his happiness at picking up their wickets,” he says.
After listening to these stories, the third generation cricketer says that playing cricket was something he took for granted. “After all the stories the urge to go and achieve those same things just wouldn’t go away. The stage was set for me to make my name in cricket,” he says.
The 18-year-old grandson of the late Vasant Ranjane, who played seven Test matches for India in the early 60s, and the son of former Maharashtra pacer Subhash Ranjane is one of Maharashtra’s premier batsmen in the u-19 category. Ranjane has already scored 213 runs at an average of 53.25, which included a century, in four matches during Maharashtra’s qualification campaign for the Vinoo Mankad u-19 one day trophy. The boy who started off as a fast bowler, trying to emulate his grandfather, is now regarded as the bedrock of the Maharashtra u-19 team’s batting.
“I started off as a bowler who could bat a little. In an u-15 match in 2008 I came in to bat at number seven and struck a crucial fifty which helped my team win the match. After that a lot of people told me to concentrate on my batting and that’s how I gradually evolved into a batsman,” he says. “I am a batsman now but I definitely haven’t forgotten my bowling.”
Ranjane took two wickets giving away just 21 runs in Maharashtra’s second qualifier against Mumbai last month but an ankle injury prevented him from contributing any more with the ball.
Ranjane has been a fast mover up the age categories. In 2007-08 he played for the Maharashtra u-13 team, aged just 11. At 13 he was part of the u-16 squad and by the time he was 16, he found himself in the u-19 squad.
He has also played a List A match for the senior Maharashtra team against Baroda and managed to dismiss Baroda batsman Kedar Devdhar.
However, for all his age-group teams Ranjane has played a variety of roles. “In the u-13 and u-16 teams I was primarily picked as a new ball bowler.