Saurashtra Lions the real Champions


We all can dance and sing together the famous Dwane Bravo song “Champion…Champion….Champion”. This chest thumping victory must have literally brought the tears of joy in the eyes of all the kathiawadis out there, yes we did it again! Well done boys.

19th February 2023 is going to be a golden & memorable day for Saurashtra Cricket forever. Pujara playing his 100th test match, Jadeja making a grand comeback were two fantastic landmarks. And while these two Saurashtra boys ensured a nail biting win against Australia with their stupendous performance in New Delhi test match, their Ranji team mates created a history by wining Ranji trophy title for the 2nd time in 3 years.

Achieving excellence continuously by any organization requires disciplined, committed and hard working team members and a fool proof system which in turn can complement each other. You need to keep doing a lot of right things to remain on top for longer period of time. Wining a Ranji title for the first time in 2020 was amazing, but winning it again this year and also to add the trophy in the cabinet for the shorter format in the same year is even more amazing and fulfilling. This championship is very special because of many factors and reasons but there are 5 major factors that stand out.

One- this team showed a great character and winning attitude: Attitude is everything is competitive sports. This team came out from hopeless match situations to turn it around and win like a phoenix. The leadership style of Jaydev Undkat is very infectious and inspiring. He leads from the front and expect his boys to achieve excellence. Arpit Vasavada, in Unadkat’s absence also led from the front with equal zeal and enthusiasm. One such example of great character came out against Punjab. On day1 of the game Saurashtra were 147 for 8. Parth Bhut batting at no-9 scored a hundred and helped the team reach a respectable score. In the same game trailing by 128 runs, team put up a spirited show and made great come back to bowl Punjab out in the 2nd innings to win the game. This shows the attitude to win the game and putting a hand up by individuals to do the job for the team.

Two- the positive mindset and awareness to deal with dynamic game scenario: While chasing a big 1st innings total against formidable Karnataka bowling unit, there was a great sense of confidence and calmness in the team. Losing two back to back games against Tamil Nadu and Andhra at the fag end of league phase did not shake the team or could not affect the positivity of the team. They knew there will be couple of tough games and were prepared to take it on chest. They took a pause, regrouped well, looked at those finer details which required few corrections and bounced back. Senior and experienced players like Sheldon Jackson, Prerak Mankad, Chirag Jani and Dharmendra Jadeja constantly aimed to raise the standard and set the benchmark very high.

Three – Not giving up at any moment: The team was missing the services of its stalwarts in most of the games. Pujara and Jadeja were available for them in only few games. Whereas Unadkat also got the India call in between the season. But this bunch of boys got together and created magic in absence of their stars. While facing full fledged Mumbai team Saurashtra came out victorious convincingly with grit and determination. Chetan Sakaria hitting those 3 sixes in pressure situation against Karnataka will always be stored in our memories. His contribution to this team’s success is enormous and he will definitely reap rich benefits of this performance. Young players Harvik Desai and Yuvraj Sinh Dodia also attracted a lot of attention with their important contributions. Snell Patel, Krushang Patel and Vishwaraj Jadeja chipped in with match winning knocks and spells at crucial juncture of different games.

4- Team effort: when we say team effort it is not just the playing team, it includes the support staff, selectors, coaches, back office workers and also the constant help & support from Association. Captain Unadkat on instargram message rightly said about this and acknowledged the help and support from all quarters. Jaydev Shah, the president came close to winning the Ranji trophy title 2 times as a captain must be a very happy man to see his team lifting the trophy twice in 3 years time.

5- Cricket first: I am a very proud Saurastrian to say this. If you interact with any of the people associated with the game of cricket in Saurashtra may it be a selector, a coach of a junior team, an office bearer, a player, the apex council, or the support staff you will get to feel that “cricket first” is a centre word for all of us. It creates an environment where good talent breeds. Association has played its big part by providing one of the best infrastructures for the game of cricket. You name it and it is there, and that’s very important. Niranjan Shah a proud man, can sit back, relax and cherish this moment as he has seen the great transformation and development in this part of the world.

The fans and former cricketers who constantly take update of each game and pray for Saurashtra’s win would be feeling over whelmed today. This is the time to celebrate and praise our heroes. This team has made our dreams come true. As I feel like screaming and dancing the tunes of “Champion…Champion”


Prakash J Bhatt (Former Saurashtra Ranji trophy captain)