The year was 1943. Ranji Trophy was slowly becoming the premier domestic tournament in India and started to make people excited. The first semi-final between Baroda and Rajputana had quite a few things to be excited about.

At that point, Baroda was one of the strongest teams in Indian domestic cricket. The team included the great Vijay Hazare and his brother Vivek Hazare. It also included experienced players like Hemu Adhikari, CS Nayudu, and Raosaheb Nimbalkar. Their opponents were no match but they included Alimuddin in their squad for the semi-final. Alimuddin, an opening batsman for Rajputana and the occasional leg-break bowler was going to make his first-class debut and it was an exciting moment. At the time of the match Alimuddin, who was born in Ajmer, was just 12 years and 73 days old and hence became the youngest debutant in first-class cricket. 

On February 26, 1943 the match began. Alimuddin, slotted to bat at first-down, was probably nervous to play in such a big stage for the first time. However his captain Narsingrao Keshri returned from the toss and announced that they would be batting, resulting in Alimuddin to get ready with all his batting equipment and wait as the openers went out to bat. 

He did not have to wait long as Vijay Hazare, opening the bowling, got the nick from opener Asad Wahab for just one. Alimuddin strolled out to play his first innings and became the youngest He and the other opener Raghubir Singh batted cautiously and added 20 runs. But the things changed with the introduction of CS Nayudu. CS Nayudu, the brother of legendary CK Nayudu, was a domestic stalwart. He was a leg break bowler and a handy batsman. He broke the partnership once he bowled Raghubir and then got Alimuddin caught by Mutyalswami Naidu for 13. The youngster did not do too bad and eventually, his 13 turned up to be the highest for Rajputana. Nayudu and Hazare, on his second spell, ran through the Rajputana lower-middle order and got them out for just 54 runs. 

Rajputana started strongly and took 3 early wickets. Hazare was joined by Mutyalswami Naidu and they tried to stabilize things. Alimuddin made another contribution. Given the ball by his captain, Alimuddin managed to get the great Hazare out and Baroda were 67 for 4. But that was when things again changed for Baroda. Nayudu joined Naidu and started to build a partnership. They added 239 runs in less than three hours and both players reached their personal best. Nayudu scored 128 and was first to go. Naidu ended with 199. There were also the contribution from Wyankatrao Ghorpade with 97 and MS Indulkar with 42 and Baroda piled up 543 and secured a lead of 489 runs. 

Rajputana started better in the second innings. Openers added 54 in the first wicket as Raghubir scored 28 and Wahab 24. Alimuddin also fought hard to get a score of 27. But all three of them were captured by Nayudu who bowled beautifully to get seven wickets after his five wickets in the first innings. Raghubir, Alimuddin, and Wahad were the top three scorers of the innings and none of the Rajputana batsmen passed 12 as they meekly surrendered to be all out for 133 runs in the second essay. It was a loss by the huge margin of innings and 356 runs. 

It may not be a memorable start for Alimuddin personally but he put his name in the record books. Post partition Alimuddin moved to Karachi and continued playing cricket. He made his debut for Pakistan in 1954 and played 25 tests with 1091 runs and 2 centuries.

Also Read: On This Day – 25th Feb


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