300: This is paata
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Until the 2011-12 season, a fan had to watch approximately three years' worth of Ranji Trophy cricket to catch a batsman scoring a triple hundred — in 78 seasons since the inaugural edition in 1934-35, there had been just 27 scores of 300 or more. On January 10, 2013, for the first time in the history of Ranji cricket, two batsmen reached 300 on the same day. In fact, the 2012-13 season has witnessed a proliferation of triple hundreds — five such scores have been made between November and January.
On the face of it, it seems rather ironic that precisely during the three-month period of domestic batting bliss, the national side went on to lose a Test series (first time in eight years) and a bilateral ODI series (first time in three years) at home, the mis-firing batting a major reason.
Despite the glut of marathon run-making, it cannot be said with any conviction that the triple centurions can walk into the national side on the basis of their mammoth knocks. Cheteshwar Pujara was already a Test fixture before his 352 against Karnataka. Kedar Jadhav, excluding the 327, averages 25 in seven matches this season. Taruwar Kohli, 24, a former India U-19 player, needed the unbeaten 300 to nudge his First Class average above 40. Ravindra Jadeja was fast-tracked into the Test side, but it was as much a tribute to his bowling arm (24 wickets in five games) and even with that, the question of where best or if at all he fits into the Test side is as yet unresolved.
Six of the top seven knocks this season, and among them four 300s, have come on three grounds notorious for their paata wickets (Rajkot, Pune and Surat). There is no intersection between the grounds that had hosted the top-10 individual scores and bowling efforts.