Bishan Singh Bedi took 64 wickets in the 1974-75 season of the Ranji Trophy for Delhi at an average of 8 © Getty Images
Bishan Singh Bedi took 64 wickets in the 1974-75 season of the Ranji Trophy for Delhi at an average of 8.53, a record in the history of the tournament © Getty Images

80 seasons of Ranji Trophy have been completed and the 81st has just started. Bharath Seervi lists the bowlers who were the highest wicket takers in the previous Ranji Trophy seasons and some in-depth stats and trivia.

Bowlers are the ones who win matches for a team, especially the Test matches and First-Class matches. In India, in order to get into the national squad, the bowlers have to make an impact in the domestic tournament – the Ranji Trophy. To get attention of the national selectors, coach and the captain, ending up as the highest wicket taker in the tournament is the highly beneficial option.

The 81st season of Ranji Trophy has begun and the players would be looking to top the charts, in bowling and batting. 80 seasons have been completed (from 1934/35 to 2013/14). Let us look the bowlers who topped the previous seasons.

Highest wickets takers in Ranji Trophy – Seasonwise

Season Name Team Wkts Balls Mdns Runs BBI Avg S/R Eco 5WI 10WM
1934/35 AG Ram Singh Madras 22 512 18 194 6/19 8.81 23.27 2.27 4 2
1935/36 AG Ram Singh Madras 28 1042 33 469 6/32 16.75 37.21 2.70 3 0
1936/37 L Amar Singh Nawanagar 28 1255 61 471 8/62 16.82 44.82 2.25 2 2
1937/38 L Amar Singh Nawanagar 24 713 34 215 7/26 8.95 29.71 1.81 2 1
1938/39 Amir Elahi Southern Punjab 28 1076 16 672 6/68 24.00 38.43 3.75 3 0
1939/40 VS Hazare Maharashtra 20 1230 57 465 7/94 23.25 61.50 2.27 2 0
1940/41 CT Sarwate Maharashtra 24 1305 51 510 6/83 21.25 54.38 2.34 2 0
1941/42 BK Garudachar Mysore 34 1127 20 573 8/99 16.85 33.15 3.05 5 2
1942/43 CS Nayudu Baroda 40 1241 42 514 7/36 12.85 31.03 2.49 6 3
1943/44 Saeed Ahmed Western India 28 1542 119 322 6/45 11.50 55.07 1.25 1 1
1944/45 CS Nayudu Holkar 33 1681 46 790 6/79 23.93 50.94 2.82 4 1
1945/46 Amir Elahi Baroda 30 1707 59 718 6/74 23.93 56.90 2.52 2 1
1946/47 VS Hazare Baroda 38 1728 81 639 8/90 16.81 45.47 2.22 4 1
1947/48 HG Gaekwad Holkar 29 1635 98 462 6/90 15.93 56.38 1.70 3 0
1948/49 SW Sohoni Baroda 33 1372 50 499 7/32 15.12 41.58 2.18 5 1
1949/50 HG Gaekwad Holkar 29 2032 132 630 6/84 21.72 70.07 1.86 3 2
1950/51 Iqbal Karan Services 33 1054 31 494 8/71 14.96 31.94 2.81 4 2
1951/52 DG Phadkar Bombay 32 794 34 302 7/109 9.43 24.81 2.28 5 1
1952/53 SA Banerjee Bengal 26 1198 70 473 7/66 18.19 46.08 2.37 3 0
1953/54 CT Sarwate Holkar 23 972 42 293 5/35 12.73 42.26 1.81 1 0
1954/55 MK Murugesh Madras 23 1121 46 449 5/53 19.52 48.74 2.40 2 0
1955/56 PM Chatterjee Bengal 26 1062 50 361 8/59 13.88 40.85 2.04 3 1
1956/57 PR Umrigar Bombay 35 1733 117 502 6/36 14.34 49.51 1.74 3 1
1957/58 Ghulam Ahmed Hyderabad 28 1185 72 370 6/30 13.21 42.32 1.87 5 2
VV Kumar Madras 28 1213 59 398 6/40 14.21 43.32 1.97 4 1
1958/59 RB Desai Bombay 50 1375 69 555 6/28 11.10 27.50 2.42 4 1
1959/60 BY Alva Mysore 36 1370 52 483 7/37 13.41 38.06 2.12 3 1
1960/61 SA Durani Rajasthan 35 926 29 383 8/99 10.94 26.46 2.48 3 0
1961/62 P Sitaram Delhi 40 1670 96 539 7/72 13.47 41.75 1.94 3 1
1962/63 BP Gupte Bombay 38 1819 41 744 5/44 19.57 47.87 2.45 4 1
1963/64 VD Sondhi Delhi 32 1236 52 453 8/14 14.15 38.63 2.20 3 1
1964/65 M Jairam Hyderabad 34 1677 76 630 5/38 18.52 49.32 2.25 1 0
1965/66 BS Chandrasekhar Mysore 37 1202 60 579 6/50 15.64 32.49 2.89 3 2
1966/67 BS Chandrasekhar Mysore 35 1007 48 462 6/26 13.20 28.77 2.75 4 1
1967/68 S Venkataraghavan Madras 46 2320 115 801 6/78 17.41 50.43 2.07 3 1
1968/69 EAS Prasanna Mysore 39 1151 68 405 7/60 10.38 29.51 2.11 5 1
1969/70 KR Gattani Rajasthan 41 1443 64 597 5/30 14.56 35.20 2.48 4 1
1970/71 BS Chandrasekhar Mysore 46 1480 55 704 6/65 15.30 32.17 2.85 4 1
1971/72 PK Shivalkar Bombay 41 1541 120 470 8/19 11.46 37.59 1.83 3 1
1972/73 S Venkataraghavan Tamil Nadu 58 2019 96 756 6/30 13.03 34.81 2.25 6 2
1973/74 BS Chandrasekhar Karnataka 55 1616 36 926 7/76 16.83 29.38 3.44 5 3
1974/75 BS Bedi Delhi 64 1950 112 546 7/5 8.53 30.47 1.68 8 4
1975/76 AM Ismail Bombay 38 1495 69 609 6/61 16.02 39.34 2.44 3 1
1976/77 KD Ghavri Bombay 40 1296 50 665 7/34 16.62 32.40 3.08 4 1
1977/78 RS Hans Uttar Pradesh 52 2528 101 884 9/152 17.00 48.62 2.10 5 1
1978/79 R Goel Haryana 41 1544 94 481 7/37 11.73 37.66 1.87 5 3
1979/80 R Goel Haryana 44 2036 110 726 8/87 16.50 46.27 2.14 3 0
1980/81 Madan Lal Delhi 33 1122 48 476 8/118 14.42 34.00 2.55 3 0
1981/82 AR Bhat Karnataka 41 2412 104 871 8/123 21.24 58.83 2.17 4 1
1982/83 AR Bhat Karnataka 42 1691 87 706 7/24 16.80 40.26 2.51 3 1
1983/84 R Goel Haryana 48 2181 116 689 7/33 14.35 45.44 1.90 6 2
1984/85 R Goel Haryana 39 2328 133 652 7/36 16.71 59.69 1.68 3 1
1985/86 S Talwar Haryana 45 2198 54 970 7/44 21.55 48.84 2.65 3 2
1986/87 SS Lahore Madhya Pradesh 32 1317 49 564 8/100 17.62 41.16 2.57 2 1
1987/88 M Venkataramana Tamil Nadu 35 1435 49 716 7/94 20.45 41.00 2.99 3 0
AR Bhat Karnataka 35 1720 63 780 8/43 22.28 49.14 2.72 3 1
1988/89 M Prabhakar Delhi 39 1131 41 514 6/36 13.17 29.00 2.73 3 1
1989/90 AS Wassan Delhi 39 1036 29 549 7/36 14.07 26.56 3.18 5 2
1990/91 C Sharma Haryana 39 1885 64 881 7/72 22.58 48.33 2.80 3 0
1991/92 Maninder Singh Delhi 58 2508 157 817 7/43 14.08 43.24 1.95 7 2
1992/93 B Vij Punjab 49 2262 106 860 7/67 17.55 46.16 2.28 3 0
1993/94 P Jain Haryana 46 1972 99 814 8/67 17.69 42.87 2.48 6 2
1994/95 KVP Rao Bihar 36 1639 88 531 7/74 14.75 45.53 1.94 5 2
1995/96 SB Joshi Karnataka 52 2364 132 872 7/60 16.76 45.46 2.21 3 1
1996/97 RK Chauhan Madhya Pradesh 55 3886 193 1352 7/52 24.58 70.65 2.09 7 2
1997/98 PL Mhambrey Mumbai 48 1839 89 739 7/42 15.39 38.31 2.41 3 1
1998/99 D Ganesh Karnataka 62 3027 85 1618 6/37 26.09 48.82 3.21 6 2
1999/00 Kanwaljit Singh Hyderabad 62 3866 167 1563 6/37 25.20 62.35 2.43 4 2
2000/01 D Ganesh Karnataka 37 1592 59 802 6/87 21.67 43.03 3.02 3 1
2001/02 US Chatterjee Bengal 39 2229 127 705 7/32 18.07 57.15 1.90 4 1
2002/03 L Balaji Tamil Nadu 47 1580 59 668 6/26 14.21 33.62 2.54 7 3
SB Joshi Karnataka 47 2067 121 680 6/62 14.46 43.98 1.97 4 1
2003/04 ND Hirwani Madhya Pradesh 45 2339 92 891 7/66 19.80 51.98 2.29 2 1
2004/05 Gagandeep Singh Punjab 39 1620 71 687 6/26 17.61 41.54 2.54 4 1
2005/06 RR Powar Mumbai 42 2058 76 952 6/65 22.66 49.00 2.78 4 1
2006/07 RR Bose Bengal 57 2249 122 811 7/25 14.22 39.46 2.16 6 2
2007/08 S Tyagi Uttar Pradesh 41 1712 65 887 6/46 21.63 41.76 3.11 2 1
2008/09 DS Kulkarni Mumbai 42 1641 58 813 7/50 19.35 39.07 2.97 4 0
RA Jadeja Saurashtra 42 2217 102 837 7/31 19.92 52.79 2.27 4 1
2009/10 A Mithun Karnataka 47 1793 48 1092 6/71 23.23 38.15 3.65 3 1
2010/11 BA Bhatt Baroda 47 2119 84 1014 7/127 21.57 45.09 2.87 4 1
2011/12 TP Sudhindra Madhya Pradesh 40 1864 80 748 7/48 18.70 46.60 2.41 4 1
2012/13 IC Pandey Madhya Pradesh 48 2086 87 1011 6/54 21.06 43.46 2.91 5 1
2013/14 R Dhawan Himachal Pradesh 49 2062 76 995 5/29 20.30 42.08 2.90 6 1

Ram Singh was the highest wicket taker in the first two seasons of Ranji Trophy taking 22 wickets and 28 wickets in 1934/35 and 1935/36 respectively for Madras. In the next two seasons it was Ram Singh for Nawanagar. In the last season, 2013/14, Rishi Dhawan took 49 wickets. As the format, number of teams and number of matches have increased as the tournament proceeded the number of wickets by a bowler to become the highest wicket taker in the season has also increased.

Some facts and trivia:

Lowest number of wickets to end up as the highest wicket taker of a season: Vijay Hazare had taken 20 wickets in the 1939/40 season to be the highest wicket taker in that season. Next is Ram Singh with 22 wickets in the inaugural season. The lowest in the last 30 years is 32 wickets by SS Lahore in 1986/87 for Madhya Pradesh.

Best and worst bowling averages among the season toppers: The best bowling average in a season to end up as the highest wicket taker in that season is by Bishan Singh Bedi in 1974/75 in which he took 64 wickets at an average of 8.53. Others with average below 10 are: Ram Singh (8.81 in 1934/35), Amar Singh (8.95 in 1937/38) and Dattu Phadkar (9.43 in 1951/52). Correspondingly the worst have been 26.09 by Dodda Ganesh in 1998/99 where he took 62 wickets. The only other season topper with average of above is 25 by Kanwaljit Singh in 1999/00 who also took 62 wickets in that season.

Best and worst bowling averages in a season:  (Min 20 wickets)

Best:

8.53 – Bishan Bedi for Delhi in 1974/75 (64 wickets)
8.80 – BK Bose for Bihar in 1957/58 (26 wickets)
8.81 – Ram Singh for Madras in 1934/35 (22 wickets)
8.95 – Amar Singh for Nawanagar in 1937/38 (24 wickets)
9.17 – S Luthra for Delhi in 1978/79 (23 wickets)

Worst:

45.76 – N Chopra for Delhi in 1996/97 (21 wickets)
41.30 – Jaidev Unadkat for Saurashtra in 2012/13 (20 wickets)
41.27 – RK Chauhan for Madhya Pradesh in 1998/99 (22 wickets)
41.00 – Pradeep Sangwan for Delhi in 2009/10 (20 wickets)
40.69 – M Raza for Uttar Pradesh in 199/00 (23 wickets)

Best and worst bowling strike rate in among the season toppers: Strike rate of 23.27 by Ram Singh in 1934/35 is the best among the season toppers. The only other bowler with strike rate of less than 25 is 24.81 by Dattu Phadkar for Bombay in 1951/52. The worst have been 70+ by two of them; 70.65 by RK Chauhan in 1996/97 and 70.07 by HG Gaekwad in 1949/50.

Best and worst bowling strike rate in a season (Min 20 wickets)

Best:
18.95 – AG Joshi for Maharashtra in 1965/66 (21 wickets)
21.35 – Habib Khan for Hyderabad in 1963/64 (20 wickets)
21.46 – S Guha for Bengal in 1969/70 (24 wickets)
22.20 – GD Dutta for Assam in 1991/92 (20 wickets)
23.15 – N Konwar for Assam in 1986/87 (20 wickets)

Worst:
104.82 – RK Chauhan for Madhya Pradesh in 1998/99 (22 wickets)
100.43 – N Chopra for Delhi in 1996/97 (21 wickets)
96.48 – MB Majithia for Madhya Pradesh in 1996/97 (21 wickets)
95.56 – SS Lahore for Madhya Pradesh in 1996/97 (27 wickets)
93.85 – RA Swaroop for Baroda in 1999/00 (20 wickets)

The best economy rate in a season (min 20 wickets) has been 1.09 by Bapu Nadkarni for Bombay in 1963/64. The worst have been 4.54 by DK Nilosey for Madhya Pradesh in 1992/93.

Highest difference of number of wickets between top two wicket takers in a season:

24 – Bishan Bedi (64) and BS Chandrasekhar (40) in 1974/75
18 – Rajinder Goel (48) and Balwinder Sandhu (30) in 1983/84
18 – RR Bose (57) and J Sharma (39) in 2006/07
17 – RB Desai (50) and P Sitaram (33) in 1958/59
17 – RS Hans (52) ad SL Shastri (35) in 1977/78
17 – SB Joshi (17) and RL Sanghvi (35) in 1995/96

Most wickets in a season without a 10-wicket match haul:

52 – SLV Raju for Hyderabad in 1999/00
50 – AR Kapoor for Tamil Nadu in 1999/00
49 – B Vijl for Punjab in 1992/93
46 – T Kumaran for Tamil Nadu in 1998/99

Most wickets in a season without a five-wicket inning haul:

44 – P Jain for Haryana in 1997/98
37 – S Mahesh for Tamil Nadu in 1999/00
35 – SV Bahatule for Bombay in 1993/94
34 – RC Shulka for Delhi in 1976/77
33 – SV Bahatule for Mumbai in 1996/97

Lowest number of five-wicket hauls for the season topperis one five-wicket haul by CT Sarwate in 1953/54, M Jairam in 1964/65 and Saeed Ahmed in 1943/44.

Highest number of five-wicket hauls is eight by BishanBedi in 1974/75 followed by seven five-wicket hauls by Maninder Singh (1991/92), RK Chauhan (1996/97) and Lakshmipathy Balaji (2002/03).

Bishan Bedi is the only bowler to take four 10-wicket match hauls in a season; he took in 1974/75.

Highest wicket taker in a season number of times:

Number of times Bowler Seasons
4 BS Chandrasekhar 1965/66, 1966/67, 1970/71 and 1973/74
R Goel 1978/79, 1979/80, 1983/84 and 1984/85
2 AG Ram Singh 1934/35 and 1935/36
Amir Elahi 1938/39 and 1945/46
AR Bhat 1981/82 and 1982/83
CS Nayudu 1942/43 and 1944/45
CT Sarwate 1940/41 and 1953/54
D Ganesh 1998/99 and 2000/01
HG Gaekwad 1947/48 and 1949/50
L Amar Singh 1936/37 and 1937/38
S Venkataraghavan 1967/68 and 1972/73
VS Hazare 1939/40 and 1946/47

The bowlers to end up as the highest wicket taker in a season for two different teams are: Amir Elahi (Southern Punjab and Baroda), CS Nayudu (Baroda and Holkar), CT Sarwate (Maharashtra and Holkar) and VS Hazare (Baroda and Maharashtra).

Among top two wicket takers of the season most times:

Number of times Bowler Top Second Top
6 BS Chandrasekhar 4 2
5 R Goel 4 1
4 Amir Elahi 2 2
AR Bhat 2 2
CS Nayudu 2 2
CT Sarwate 2 2
Maninder Singh 1 3
VS Hazare 2 2
3 AG Ram Singh 2 1
HG Gaekwad 2 1
P Sitaram 1 2
PK Shivalkar 1 2
S Venkataraghavan 2 1

Highest wicket takers in a season – Team wise

Number Team
15 Mysore/Karnataka
10 Bombay/Mumbai
8 Madras/Tamil Nadu
7 Delhi
7 Haryana
5 Baroda
5 Madhya Pradesh
4 Bengal
4 Holkar
3 Hyderabad
3 Nawanagar/Saurashtra
2 Maharashtra
2 Punjab
2 Rajasthan
2 United Provinces/Uttar Pradesh
1 Bihar
1 Himachal Pradesh
1 Services
1 Southern Punjab
1 Western India
84 Total (including 4 seasons with two bowlers on top)

1953/54 is the only season in which the top three wicket takers were from same team. The three were from Holkar – CT Sarwate, AR Naidu, and HGGaekwad.

How many times has the team whose bowler was the highest run getter in a season has won the Ranji Trophy that season?

A mere 24 times (out of 80)

(Bharath Seervi is a cricket statistician who is obsessed with digging numbers, facts and records related to the game. An active member of Society of Cricket Statisticians of India, he blogs at www.cricketseervistats.blogspot.com. He can be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SeerviBharath and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SeerviCricket)