Ranji Trophy – Vaibhav Suryavanshi makes first-class debut aged 12; Two Bihar squads named for opener

The start of the 2023-24 Ranji Trophy attracted a large number of crowds at the Moin-ul-Haq Stadium in Patna – a venue which has hosted 1996 World Cup Schedule – and host Bihar gave people plenty of reasons to rejoice. After all, 41-time champions Mumbai had been reduced to 235 for 9 on the opening day of their Meeting of the Elite Group B.

However, unbeknownst to the general public, a controversy was brewing on the sidelines. The Bihar Cricket Association (BCA) was in conflict with its suspended former secretary Amit Kumar, who had named his own team to take the field. Contrary to reports, the two teams had only been named on paper and only the BCA team – the “official” team – had entered the field. At the gates outside the venue, however, chaos ensued, with a furious Amit Kumar allegedly attacking an official.

“There was a life-threatening attack on BCA OSD Manoj Kumar by people involved in the fake team,” an official BCA statement said on Friday afternoon. “The perpetrators have been identified and action will be taken against them.”

Amit Kumar had once been part of BCA president Rakesh Tiwary's faction that had contested and won the BCA elections before the association was given affiliated membership to the BCCI, and the team was allowed to compete in senior national competitions ahead of the 2018-19 season.

At the time, the Committee of Administrators, tasked with running the BCCI by the Supreme Court of India, had appointed an independent election observer to a three-member committee tasked with conducting free and fair elections. Saba Karim, the former Indian wicketkeeper, had also visited Patna to oversee the formalization of the body in his capacity as the BCCI's general manager of cricket operations.

But Amit Kumar's relations with Tiwary reportedly became strained in 2022, when he was allegedly involved in one of the warring factions. When the matter came to the notice of the Tiwary-led dispensation, Amit Kumar was suspended. Since then, he has not held any position within the association, which means that the teams he names on paper remain “null and void”.

Vaibhav Suryavanshi made his debut for Bihar at the age of 12

There was also a turning point when Bihar made their first-class debut at Vaibhav Suryavanshi, aged only 12 years and 284 days. His official age, confirmed by the BCA, makes him the youngest Indian first-class debutant since 1986.

Suryavanshi, a left-handed batter, made 93 runs in five innings in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy for Bihar. This earned him a place in the Under-19 Challenger Trophy as well as the Under-19 Quadrangular, also involving Bangladesh and England, following which the junior selection panel named his Indian team for the Under-19 World Cup which will be held in the South. Africa later this month. It wasn't there.

Spectators warned in front of a dilapidated stadium

On a hectic day for the BCA, it also had to contend with a lack of facilities to accommodate the large crowds who had presumably come to get a glimpse of Ajinkya Rahane, the designated captain of Mumbai. However, Rahane was forced to miss the match after waking up with neck spasms. He walked around the boundary ropes to wave to the crowd.

The stadium is a mess. So much so that spectators entering were passing signs warning them to enter at their own risk. gamereviewguru understands that the crumbly structure cannot be changed as the land belongs to the municipality and not the state association.

“Yes, the condition is bad, but there is a plan to make this stadium world-class, and the tender has also been accepted,” Tiwary said by way of explanation. “It will be revamped very soon, [but] because the match still had to be played, we made it playable somehow. We are hopeful that soon this stadium will begin to shine like its ancient history.”

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