Services will have to do well to make out of Group C © Getty Images (Representative Photo)
Services will have to do well to make out of Group C © Getty Images (Representative Photo)

The Services cricket team is one of the two sides in the Ranji Trophy tournament — the other being Railways — to have a pan-India appeal to it, i.e. comprise of players from all parts of the nation. This is due to the fact that the team, which participates in Group C of the upcoming edition of India’s premier domestic tournament, is run by the Services Cricket Association which is the official governing body of the Indian Armed Services for the sport. Read all Ranji Trophy 2015-16 team previews here

Services experienced their golden years under the leadership of former Indian cricketer Lt. Col Hemu Adhikari, with the team consecutive finals in 1956-57 and 1957-58, losing to Bombay and Baroda respectively. It emerged as leading challenger to the might of the Bombay team in that era. The side however, slowly began to fade away into the oblivion, as the likes of Adhikari, VM Muddiah, Narain Swamy, Chandrasekhar Gadkari and Bal Dani were on their way out.

The side was not a much talked about one after that era, mostly having to contend in the Plate League, until their heroic semi-final finish in the 2012-13 campaign. Soumik Chatterjee was the undisputed hero for the side when he played a true soldier-like innings during the chase of the 113-run target against Uttar Pradesh in the quarter-final. Chatterjee came out to bat with an injured left leg, which he had sustained earlier in the match, and managed to remain unbeaten on 34 off 46 balls to guide his side to a memorable five-wicket win. READ: Ranji Trophy 2015-16: Tamil Nadu look to utilise home advantage against Baroda

Services squad for Ranji Trophy 2015-16: Azaruddin Bloch, Soumik Chatterjee, Anshul Gupta, Vikas Hathwala, Muzzaffaruddin Khalid, Shadab Nazar, Rajat Paliwal, Diwesh Pathania, Poonam Poonia, Raushan Raj, Ravi Chauhan, Shashank Sharma, Sufiyan Alam, Yashpal Singh

Key Players: The most well-known player in the current squad has to be Yashpal Singh from Delhi, who has a tally of 6,983 runs and 60 wickets from 95 First-Class appearances. Howrah-born Soumik Chatterjee is another important member, who holds an average of 37 from 40 matches, including four centuries and nine half-centuries. Rajat Paliwal has an impressive average of 47 in 33 matches, making him a key batsman in the side. Shadab Nazar is among the prominent bowlers, having taken 46 scalps in 17 matches.

Match Group Date Venue Time
Services vs Jharkhand C Oct 01  – Oct 4 Delhi 9:30 IST
Goa vs Services C Oct 8  – Oct 11 Goa 9:30 IST
Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) vs Services C Oct 15  – Oct 18 J&K 9:30 IST
Services vs Kerala C Oct 22  – Oct 25 Delhi 9:30 IST
Services vs Saurashtra C Oct 30  – Nov 02 Delhi 9:30 IST
Himachal Pradesh vs Services C Nov 07  – Nov 10 Dharamsala 9:30 IST
Services vs Hyderabad C Nov 15  – Nov 18 Delhi 9:30 IST
Tripura vs Services C Nov 23  – Nov 26 Agartala 9:30 IST

Services play their first game against the Varun Aaron-led Jharkhand at their home ground of Model Sports Complex in Delhi on October 1. They will play three more games at home — against Kerala, Saurashtra and Hyderabad respectively. READ: Ranji Trophy 2015-16: Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja named in Saurashtra

(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, travelling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)