Bundela is grateful to the game he loves

“The youngsters have all to play for. Even people like us look forward to competing with the young cricketers. That’s the spirit of Ranji Trophy,” says the seasoned batsman, Devendra Bundela.

When he played for Madhya Pradesh for the first time, Bundela did not even think that he would be able to continue for so long.   -  K. RAMESH BABU

At a time when most of his contemporaries are busy planning their future, Devendra Bundela is striving to help Madhya Pradesh make it to the knock-out stage of the Ranji Trophy this season.

At 40, not many would dream of such things, but for Bundela, who has played 157 first-class matches and 82 List ‘A’ games so far, that’s how life is. Having started his career with Madhya Pradesh in the 1995-96 season, Bundela has been one of the most consistent performers for the side. But even then, a berth in the Indian team has eluded him.

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However, that doesn’t bother Bundela much as he feels the Ranji Trophy prepares a cricketer for all the challenges. “It’s a big thing in a cricketer’s life. It makes you stronger,” he says.

When he played for Madhya Pradesh for the first time, Bundela did not even think that he would be able to continue for so long. “It has been a great experience. For me, Ranji Trophy means a lot. It is not only a big tournament, but it is also a platform for the cricketers to show their talent,” he says.

The Madhya Pradesh stalwart, who is gearing up for the Ranji Trophy this year, believes that the long, challenging season prepares a cricketer for the future. “It means everything for a cricketer. Even at this age, I want to give my best for the team. Perhaps, this is what Ranji Trophy is all about — it brings out the best in a cricketer,” the seasoned batsman says.

According to Bundela, who works with the State Bank of India in Indore, the three months of Ranji season are very important for the cricketers. “The youngsters have all to play for. Even people like us look forward to competing with the young cricketers. That’s the spirit of Ranji Trophy,” points out Bundela, who played in the Bolton League in the UK recently.

The on-field experiences, according to Bundela, have helped him sort out quite a few things on the professional front. And for that, he is grateful to the game he loves!

Ranji performance — Matches:138; Runs: 8851; Highest score: 188; Average: 46.09.

By Shayan Acharya

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