Born on 10 September, 1872 at Sarodar in Gujarat and died on 2 April, 1933 at Jamnagar in Gujarat. Prince Ranji, nicknamed 'Smith' by his teammates at Cambridge, is one of the finest batsmen to have played tests for England. He represented Cambridge University and then Sussex before qualifying to play for England against Australia. On his test debut at Old Trafford in 1896, he made 62 and 154 and almost rescued England from defeat. He played 15 tests, all for England against old foes, Australia and scored 989 runs at an average of 44.95 with two hundreds and six fifties. A useful change bowler, he claimed one wicket. He was nominated Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1897.
Prince Ranji suffered from 'hay fever' throughout his career, but he crossed a thousand runs in a season in all the twelve complete seasons that he played in England. He is perhaps the only batsman to have crossed 3000 runs in two consecutive English seasons, which he accomplished in 1899 and 1900. A batsman with wristy strokes, somewhat like Azharuddin; a style that bewildered the Englishmen, he could with ease play the ball pitched on the off and middle stumps to anywhere between mid-wicket and fine leg. He was a master of the leg glance, and played fluent cuts and cover drives. Ranji captained Sussex for five seasons, and played his last match for them in 1920, by which time he had lost one eye in a shooting accident.
Ranji's nephew, Dileep played with distinction for England later and his grand nephew, Ajay Jadeja played for India till recently. Late in his career, Ranji became the Jamsaheb of Nawanagar and represented India on the League of Nations. The National championship in India, Ranji Trophy is named after him, though he never played for India.