Andhra's Cricket Stars: Through the Years

Andhra's Cricket Stars: Through the Years

Former Liverpool FC manager Bill Shankly once famously stated, "Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it's much more serious than that." Indians feel the same about cricket. There is no greater honor for an Indian cricketer than becoming a professional player or representing their country on the international stage.

The following five cricket stars have all played for or were born in Andhra during their glistening careers. Can you remember them all?

C.K. Nayudu
Colonel Cottari Kanakaiya Nayudu
is a legendary figure in Indian cricket, a trailblazer, and a trendsetter. Born in October 1895 in Nagur, Central Provinces, British India, Nayudu started playing cricket as a seven-year-old boy, although he was also a talented footballer and hockey player. Nayudu moved to England to further his studies, and upon his return, he brought the game of cricket with him.

Nayudu enjoyed a glistening career that spanned a world-record 47 years, turning out at the crease from 1916 until 1963. He was the first-ever captain of the Indian national cricket team, and had the top online sportsbooks been around in his day, Nayudu would have been one of the favorites to top-score whenever he played.

Nayudu played seven Test matches for India, including the team's 1932 tour in England, India's first-ever Test series. He scored 350 runs in those seven matches and took nine wickets.

Domestically, Nayudu played for Hundus, Madras, Hyderabad, Central Provinces-Berar, Central India, Holkar, Andhra (1955/56), and Uttar Pradesh. By the time he retired from first-class cricket, he had played 207 matches, scored 11,825 runs for an average of 35.94, and scored 26 centuries and 58 half-centuries, all while taking 411 wickets.

Nayudu may have only played for Andhra briefly, but the team was honored to have him on its roster. Sadly, Nayudu died on November 14, 1967, at the age of 72.

K.S. Bharat
Kona Srikar Bharat
was born in October 1993 in Visakhapatnam and fulfilled his dream of playing for Andhra in the domestic cricket scene in 2012. Bharat plays as a wicket-keeper but is also a talented batsman, as his career statistics show.

In February 2015, Bharat became the first wicket-keeper to score a triple hundred in the Ranji Trophy, hitting an incredible 308. Unsurprisingly, after that massive run haul, the Dehli Daredevils signed him for their Indian Premier League team, although he did not feature in any of their games.

Despite Bharat's impressive first-class cricket figures, he did not feature in the Indian national team until February 2023. Throughout his career, the 30-year-old has racked up 5,009 runs from 94 first-class cricket matches for a 37.10 average, has 315 catches and 37 stumpings. Bharat has played five international Test matches, scoring 129 runs, 12 catches, and one stumping.

Mohammad Kaif
Mohammad Kaif was born in December 1990 in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, and he has always wanted to be a professional cricketer. His father, Mohammad Tarif, and older brother, Mohammad Saif, were both cricket players.

Kaif played for Uttar Pradesh from 1998 to 2014 before joining Andhra from 2014-16. He also played in the Indian Premier League for the Rajasthan Royals, Kings XI Punjab, and the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Between 2000 and 2006, Kaif was a mainstay in the Indian national team and was part of the side that was joint winners of the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy and runners-up in the 2003 Cricket World Cup.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest fielders of all time, Kaif has 170 catches in first-class cricket, another 55 in ODI games, and 14 in Test matches. There is more to Kaif's game than top-tier fielding because he is also an exceptional middle-order batsman. Through 186 first-class games, Kaif scored 10,229 runs for a 38.60 average, including 19 centuries, 59 half-centuries, and a top score of 202 not out.

Vijay Manjrekar
Vijay Majrekar was born in September 1931 in then-Bombai, and he went on to become a sensational batsman despite his small size and stature. He played domestic cricket for several teams, including Bombay, Bengal, Andhra, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra, but it was his performances in international matches that saw Majrekar where he excelled.

Manjrekar made his test debut against England in Calcutta in 1951, aged only 20. A year later, he scored his first Test hundred, 133 against England at Headingley. He would score another six hundreds, 15 half-centuries, and 3,208 runs across 55 Test matches. Amazingly, Majrekar scored all those Test runs without ever hitting a six.

Manjrekar died in Madras in October 1983 at the age of 52. His son, Sanjay Manjrekar, also played professional cricket and represented India in 37 Test matches between 1987 and 1996.

Ricky Bhui
Ricky Bhui
is the youngest cricketer on our list. The right-handed batsman was born in September 1996, making him 27 years old. Although Bhui has yet to make his international debut, many believe it is only a matter of time before the selectors give him a chance to represent India on cricket's grandest stage.

Bhui has played for Andhra since 2013, and he also plays for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League. He was the only Andhra Pradesh Ranji player to make the cut for the 2018 Indian Premier League.

The 2018-19 Ranji Trophy is when Bhui played some of the best cricket of his career. Through eight matches, Bhui scored 775 runs, earning him the title of leading run-scorer. Bhui's first-class cricket statistics are impressive. To date, Bhui has 38 first-class cricket games under his belt and has scored 1,066 runs for an average of 42.10. Among those runs are ten centuries, 12 half-centuries, and a career-best 187 top score.

Bhui's T20 figures are still solid but far from his first-class batting average. If he can improve in the T20 discipline, he could undoubtedly make a name for himself in the Indian national team.

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