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Lord Ganesha XI: Eleven cricketers who were named after the elephant God

Kapil Dev's name is derived from “Kapila” which was the name of a saint as well as a reference to Ganesha’s yellowish skin © Getty Images
Kapil Dev’s name is derived from “Kapila” which was the name of a saint as well as a reference to Ganesha’s yellowish skin © Getty Images

The Hindu god Ganesha is referred to by 108 names in mythology. On the occasion of Ganesh Chathurti, Nishad Pai Vaidya picks 11 cricketers who were named after the Hindu God.

The Ganesh Chathurti is a festival that is celebrated in India with great fervour. It is particularly celebrated on the western coast, where it first originated. Lord Ganesha occupies a special place in Hinduism as he is considered as someone who brings good luck. According to Hindu mythology, he has 108 names. Here is a list of 11 cricketers named after the Hindu god:

Batsmen:

1. Vinayak Mane: Mane was a promising batsman who represented the India under-19s in the early 2000s. He made his debut in First-Class cricket for Mumbai in 2000-01 and was one of the youngsters earmarked for a great future. However, a few years down the line, he couldn’t hold his spot in the line-up and then went over to represent Jammu and Kashmir, playing his last game for them in 2009. The name ‘Vinayaka’ means “supreme lord.”

2. Debabrata Das: Das is a Bengal batsman who has made a name for himself in the IPL for the Kolkata Knight Riders. During their title triumph in 2012, he essayed cameos that helped them finish a few games. In 2006, he was a part of the India under-19 side along with Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Piyush Chawla and Ravindra Jadeja. Debabrata is a Bengali version of the name “Devavrata”, which refers to someone who accepts penances.

3. Avnish Seth: The right-handed batsman and medium-pacer played for the Services in the 1980s. In 20 matches, he scored 655 runs and took 17 wickets. He had three tons to his credit, the highest being a 130 not out. “Avnish” refers to Ganesha being the master of the earth or the universe.

4. Pramod Arya: Arya was a right-handed batsman who played 21 First-Class matches for Rajasthan in the 1970s and the 1980s. “Pramod” means someone who is the lord of all the places or the abodes.

5. Vinayak Samant (WK): The Mumbai stumper was a tireless servant for the giants of Indian domestic cricket. Though he made his debut back in the 1990s, he only established himself in the 2000s after Sameer Dighe retired. A shrewd cricketer, he had the grit that typifies Mumbai cricket. After his Mumbai days were behind him, he turned up for Tripura, having played his last match in 2012. Samant once fielded for the West Indies at the Brabourne Stadium during the ICC Champions Trophy 2006 when they were short of fielders.

6. Pitambar Dutt: He played for various age-group sides for Delhi in the from 1989 to 1994. His last appearance was for the Delhi under-19s in 1994. “Pitambar” refers to Ganesha for wearing yellow clothes.

All Rounders:

7. Kapil Dev (c): Does he need an introduction! One-time leading wicket-taker in Test cricket, the finest all-rounder India has produced and their first World Cup winning captain. Kapil Dev’s cricketing biography can’t be summed up in a few words. Though “Kapila” was the name of a saint, it also refers to Ganesha’s yellowish skin.

8. Ganapathi Vignesh: The Chennai all-rounder made his debut in First-Class cricket in 2002-03 when he represented Tamil Nadu. However, in 2007, he moved to the Indian Cricket League (ICL) and was successful there. In 2010, he was a part of the Chennai Super Kings side that went on to win the Indian Premier League (IPL). His last appearance was for Goa in 2011 and he then played for India at the Hong Kong Sixes. “Ganpati” is one of the most popular names for Ganesha.

9. Gajanan Patwardhan: Patwardhan was a right-handed batsman and a leg-spinner who represented Maharashtra in four matches in the late 1940s and the early 1950s. “Gajanan” refers to Ganesha’s elephant head.

Bowlers:

10. Amit Mishra: The leg-spinner made his debut for India in 2003 and then disappeared for five years. Upon his return in 2008, taking five-wickets on Test debut, Mishra has been on the fringes without establishing his spot in the long-run. He has been vastly successful in the IPL and in 2013 he took 18 wickets in a series against Zimbabwe. “Amit” means someone who cannot be compared with anyone and is one of Ganesha’s names.

11. Dodda Ganesh: The medium-pacer was picked for the tours to South Africa and the West Indies in 1996-97. He made his Test debut at Cape Town and then played his first One-Day International (ODI) against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo. Thereafter, he played three more Tests for India in the Caribbean. In all, he took only 10 international wickets. At the domestic level, he served Karnataka for over ten years and picked up 365 wickets in 104 First-Class matches.

12th Man: Chaturbhuj: A batsman who played for Punjab under-22 and then made a solitary appearance for Haryana in the Ranji Trophy in 1981. He scored 39 not out in his only game and never played again. Ganesha has four arms, and that is why he is called “Chaturbhuj.”

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

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