Nostalgia time for Kapil's 1991 Ranji 'Devils'

Haryana's players of the epic final with Mumbai felicitated.

Chetan Sharma and Kapil Dev in Lahli on Sunday.

Nostalgia reigned supreme here on Sunday as several members of Kapil Dev's Haryana team that won its maiden Ranji Trophy in 1991 gathered for the first time after winning their maiden national title 22 years ago.

Kapil, who is involved as a commentator in the ongoing India-Australia ODI series, made it a point to be present the Bansi Lal Stadium while Deepak Sharma, who made the highest score in that final against Mumbai, a superb 199, came all the way from Australia.

Apart from the two, 10 other members of that 15-member squad who made it to Lahli were Chetan Sharma, Rajesh Puri, Ajay Jadeja, Vijay Yadav, Dhanraj Singh, Nitin Goel, Vinay Dutt Sharma, Yogender Bhandari, Pradeep Jain, and Sukhdev Singh.

Conspicuous by their absence were Amarjeet Kaypee, Ajay Banerjee and Sukhdev Bhatia, besides the coach-cum-manager Sarkar Talwar, a former Haryana captain and reputed off-spinner.

Interestingly, Sachin Tendulkar is the only player from either team who has continued to play all these years while Ajay Jadeja made a comeback to first-class cricket on Sunday against Mumbai.

Deepak, who migrated to Australia in 2004 after taking voluntary retirement from ONGC and is now a coach, became nostalgic on meeting his teammates and Tendulkar.

"I asked Sachin if he remembered me. He said 'of course'," Deepak told Mail Today. He also got Tendulkar to sign one of his biographies that he brought from Sydney, where he is now based. He also got the signatures of Kapil Dev, Chetan Sharma, and VVS Laxman, who was invited by the Haryana Cricket Association.

"I wonder why I never took autographs of players when I was playing," he said with his trademark smile.

Deepak, 53, owes that majestic, yet lucky, knock to Tendulkar. "I was on 25 when I pulled a ball from pacer Salil Ankola from off stump and mistimed the shot. The ball went to square leg where Sachin ran backwards but couldn't catch it, and I made the most of it," he said of his 510-minute innings (376 balls, 23x4s).


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