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Saurabh Rawat: Leading Uttarakhand’s Cricket Revolution with Record-Breaking Performances

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Haldwani: In 2018, Uttarakhand cricket entered a new era. The dream that senior players had seen for decades came true as the state was recognized by the BCCI to play domestic cricket. This recognition brought hope not only to the players but also to those who had been serving the sport in Uttarakhand for a long time. Over the past three years, Uttarakhand has produced not just players but also coaches and supporting staff for cricket.

Speaking of Uttarakhand cricket, we must first mention the player who holds the record for the most centuries in the Ranji Trophy from the state. Wicketkeeper-batsman Saurabh Rawat, before joining the Uttarakhand team, had played domestic cricket for Odisha.

Saurabh Rawat, a resident of Haldwani, made his domestic cricket debut for Odisha in 2016. It is not easy to play for another state. Saurabh started his cricket journey with the Haldwani Cricketers Club. After learning the nuances of cricket, he moved to Bengaluru and secured a place in the Odisha team through his hard work.

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In 2016, Saurabh played a short but useful innings. In his first season, he scored two fifties. He gradually gained recognition, and in the meantime, Uttarakhand made its entry into domestic cricket.

Uttarakhand’s Entry into Domestic Cricket in 2018

In 2018, Uttarakhand’s team made its debut in the one-day format against Bihar. In the first match of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the team faced a 5-wicket defeat. Despite having experience in domestic cricket, Saurabh was dismissed for zero. Looking at the first match, it seemed that it would take time for Uttarakhand’s team to make a mark, but cricket is not a game of ifs and buts, and all the players knew that.

Under the leadership of then-captain Rajat Bhatia and coach Bhaskar Pillai, the team did what no one had imagined. The Uttarakhand team won seven consecutive matches, and Saurabh Rawat emerged as the backbone of the team, giving fans hope for the Ranji Trophy.

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Saurabh Rawat played a quick 35-run innings off 20 balls against Puducherry. In the Vijay Hazare tournament, Saurabh scored four fifties and rescued the team from difficult situations on several occasions. Following this, Saurabh created history in the Ranji Trophy. He played an innings of 220 runs against Sikkim, becoming the first batsman to score a double century for Uttarakhand in the Ranji Trophy.

Saurabh then scored 102 runs against Mizoram. His excellent form continued in the quarter-final match against Vidarbha, where he played an innings of 108 runs, earning the admiration of the opposing team. Umesh Yadav led the bowling attack for Vidarbha at that time. Former opening batsman Wasim Jaffer, who was a member of the opposing camp, praised Saurabh’s innings, stating that his team had not expected Uttarakhand to reach a total of 355 runs. That season, Uttarakhand won six matches.

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Saurabh’s Performance in 2019-2020

In 2018, Saurabh scored three centuries and in the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy season, he played an innings of 110 runs against Jharkhand. He was the first batsman to score a century for Uttarakhand. Saurabh Rawat has scored the most centuries (four) in the Ranji Trophy for Uttarakhand. He was also chosen as the best player by the Cricket Association of Uttarakhand for his outstanding performance. Looking at Saurabh Rawat’s career, he has scored 1360 runs in 29 Ranji Trophy matches with the help of four centuries and five fifties. In 22 one-day matches, he has scored 427 runs with three fifties. For Uttarakhand, he has scored 264 runs in 18 T20 matches with one fifty to his name.

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