Ranji Trophy, 2008-09 January 7, 2009

Win the toss, bag the match

Dear readers,
52



Dear readers,

Generally one must beat the opposition to qualify for the next round; a draw is never good enough. But in all probability a draw will do the job in this year's Ranji Trophy semi-finals. Both matches, though at neutral and Test venues, are being played on flat batting surfaces where the toss almost decided the outcome of the game. These are perfect win-the-toss-and-bat-first conditions. And to make matters worse for the team losing the toss, the match is only a four-day game and a first-innings lead is adequate to decide the match.

When you know that you don't have to bowl the opposition out twice to ensure a place in the final, the approach while batting changes, especially when batting first. One wouldn't want to force the issue as time is never going to be a concern. One must bat on and on for as long as they possibly can and try to bat the opposition out of the game.

There are two aspects of posting a big first-innings total. Scoring anything in excess of 400 would consume a lot of time and then, whether the opposition manages to chase it or falls short, the reply would also take a lot of time. So, by the time each team has batted once, regardless of who gets the lead, it would be near the end of the third day's play. Now, with only a day to play none of the teams would be able to set up the match for a desired result. A five-day match for the knockout stages would therefore be preferable. It's unbelievable what those three extra sessions on a wearing fifth day wicket could do to the outcome of the game.

We, Delhi, conceded a fifty runs first-innings lead in the final but since it was a five day game we knew there might just be enough to get even by the end and we did. One could argue that even a five-day match won't produce a result on such good surfaces. That too is a factor and it brings us to the state of the pitches.

Personally, I think there are few types of tracks which could ensure good cricket. The ideal track would assist the quick bowlers on day one and partially on day two as well, becomes a good batting surface on days two and three and starts helping the spinners on days four and five. But that seems like asking for too much especially in first-class cricket. So the next best option would be to either have a track where the ball does a lot in the first innings, say days one and two, ensuring that both the first innings are wrapped up relatively quickly (I dare not suggest the track provided for Delhi-Orissa game where the match got over in 120 overs), or a track where the batsmen make merry for the first two days before the spinners take over the proceedings for the remainder of the game.

But what we're witnessing in the ongoing semi-finals is the regular kind of track we're used to seeing in India. The track was good to bat on at the start and remains to be equally conducive for batting till the end, with just a hint of spin creeping in, but still, far from doing enough to force a result within four days.

A five-day match and a slightly more responsive surface might just do the trick at this level.

Cheers

PS: My book Beyond the Blues is releasing on January 8, so please wish me luck.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Megan JoyLover on May 11, 2010, 8:13 GMT

    Really nice blog you got here. It would be great to read a bit more concerning that matter. Thanx for giving such data.

  • Chetan on January 11, 2009, 19:52 GMT

    One of the things BCCI could introduce to ensure that grounds are prepared sensibly - if less than 30 wickets have fallen and the match is a draw, whatever happens to the result, the hosting association should be required to suffer a substantial boredom fine. Also no domestic or international matches for the next 12 months on the first offence, & 18 months for every repeat offence. Of course, the Ranji Trophy knockout should be 5 days.

  • Samir Pabari - Australia on January 11, 2009, 8:11 GMT

    Hi Aakash, Best of luck for the book release. Always enjoy reading your articles.

    Best wishes!

  • Neha J on January 8, 2009, 19:27 GMT

    Hey Aakash, You've got the whole thing right; sad there isn't much BCCI does to make the pitches more bowler friendly. Spinners can still get a wicket on a flat track, unlike the quicks, who need the green strip & bounce. Seamers like Ishant & Zaheer need home pitches backing them too. We can't expect them to get us an early breakthrough in every test they play. The technical committee really has a job on its hands regarding seamer friendly pitches.

    Best of luck for your book..I'm convinced it'll do well...!:D Keep the blogs coming...!! :) Cheers xD

  • Ravishankar Bangalore on January 8, 2009, 12:00 GMT

    The knock out games should be played for 5 days. Deodhar trophy should be played as 5 day affair.It should be a league.Inorder allocate the window for IPL. they have shorten the game.Now Deodar trophy is played as knock BCCI instead of concentrating on IPL, they can improve the quality of pitches for domestic cricket.Please make sporting pitches.Its really hard for the fast bowlers to bowl at the flat tracks.I really feel happy for balaji. he has come back from injury. playiny this ranji season after 3 years, he has proved himself in flat tracks.He should be travelling to Newzealand for test matches. I am really shocked that TN has lost the semi final.They were consistent througt the seanson.They really messed the chance of going to final. while batting they 300/2 then suddenly they lost 5 wickets in the 2nd day morning. when up was batting they removed 3 frontline batsmen for 65. they should have played Yomahesh instead of leftarm spinner suresh.They should have played arun karthik

  • Mandar Kelkar on January 8, 2009, 11:56 GMT

    Forget about the hawk eye and the sniko,Neo does not have good commentators. All the good men are sitting pretty with ESPN who don't have rights in India.

    We should take a leaf from Channel 9 broadcast of domestic cricket in Aus.

  • Anonymous on January 8, 2009, 11:55 GMT

    The knock out games should be played for 5 days.BCCI instead of concentrating on IPL, they can improve the quality of pitches for domestic cricket.Please make sporting pitches.Its really hard for the fast bowlers to bowl at the flat tracks.I really feel happy for balaji. he has come back from injury. playiny this ranji season after 3 years, he has proved himself in flat tracks.He should be travelling to Newzealand for test matches. I am really shocked that TN has lost the semi final.They were consistent througt the seanson.They really messed the chance of going to final. while batting they 300/2 then suddenly they lost 5 wickets in the 2nd day morning. when up was batting they removed 3 frontline batsmen for 65. they should have played Yomahesh instead of leftarm spinner suresh.They should have played arun karthik

  • abhishek on January 8, 2009, 8:14 GMT

    Flat pitches make the game boring.While watching such games on the TV people get bored plus the broadcaster Neo does not use hawkeye,snick-o-meter or hotspot making the domestic games more boring.

  • Homer on January 7, 2009, 17:32 GMT

    If a wicket has not deteriorated on the 4th day, odds of it changing complexion on the 5th are remote. So, adding the extra day will have no real bearing on the contest.

    Instead, there should be points awarded for result oriented pitches - pitches that produce the most results ( and are within the parameters of fairness), should get to host the knockouts, semis and finals.

    If the BCCI is really serious about the pitch quality, domestic results must be a factor in awarding Tests and ODIs - roads like the Kotla and Chennai should not be considered while most result oriented wickets should.

    Also, a graded payment scheme for curators may help - you produce result oriented wickets, you get compensated accordingly.

    And one last thing - Delhi must be penalized for producing a green top in the must win game against Orissa while producing a road for all their other home games.

    Cheers,

  • Mandar Kelkar on January 7, 2009, 16:18 GMT

    I see multiple things attributing to the scenario. First - the pitch : The pitch should be sporting , may be slightly in favor of bowlers so that the batsmen(their technique) are really tested. Second - The duration should be 5 days. Third - I think there arent any quality bowlers who can really trouble the batsmen on a good flat track in the domestic circuit. We need spinners with lots of variations (like Murli, Mendis) or seamers with lot of guile (like Akram, Waqar). Unfortunately we have the bowlers who would be effective only when the conditions suit them.

  • Megan JoyLover on May 11, 2010, 8:13 GMT

    Really nice blog you got here. It would be great to read a bit more concerning that matter. Thanx for giving such data.

  • Chetan on January 11, 2009, 19:52 GMT

    One of the things BCCI could introduce to ensure that grounds are prepared sensibly - if less than 30 wickets have fallen and the match is a draw, whatever happens to the result, the hosting association should be required to suffer a substantial boredom fine. Also no domestic or international matches for the next 12 months on the first offence, & 18 months for every repeat offence. Of course, the Ranji Trophy knockout should be 5 days.

  • Samir Pabari - Australia on January 11, 2009, 8:11 GMT

    Hi Aakash, Best of luck for the book release. Always enjoy reading your articles.

    Best wishes!

  • Neha J on January 8, 2009, 19:27 GMT

    Hey Aakash, You've got the whole thing right; sad there isn't much BCCI does to make the pitches more bowler friendly. Spinners can still get a wicket on a flat track, unlike the quicks, who need the green strip & bounce. Seamers like Ishant & Zaheer need home pitches backing them too. We can't expect them to get us an early breakthrough in every test they play. The technical committee really has a job on its hands regarding seamer friendly pitches.

    Best of luck for your book..I'm convinced it'll do well...!:D Keep the blogs coming...!! :) Cheers xD

  • Ravishankar Bangalore on January 8, 2009, 12:00 GMT

    The knock out games should be played for 5 days. Deodhar trophy should be played as 5 day affair.It should be a league.Inorder allocate the window for IPL. they have shorten the game.Now Deodar trophy is played as knock BCCI instead of concentrating on IPL, they can improve the quality of pitches for domestic cricket.Please make sporting pitches.Its really hard for the fast bowlers to bowl at the flat tracks.I really feel happy for balaji. he has come back from injury. playiny this ranji season after 3 years, he has proved himself in flat tracks.He should be travelling to Newzealand for test matches. I am really shocked that TN has lost the semi final.They were consistent througt the seanson.They really messed the chance of going to final. while batting they 300/2 then suddenly they lost 5 wickets in the 2nd day morning. when up was batting they removed 3 frontline batsmen for 65. they should have played Yomahesh instead of leftarm spinner suresh.They should have played arun karthik

  • Mandar Kelkar on January 8, 2009, 11:56 GMT

    Forget about the hawk eye and the sniko,Neo does not have good commentators. All the good men are sitting pretty with ESPN who don't have rights in India.

    We should take a leaf from Channel 9 broadcast of domestic cricket in Aus.

  • Anonymous on January 8, 2009, 11:55 GMT

    The knock out games should be played for 5 days.BCCI instead of concentrating on IPL, they can improve the quality of pitches for domestic cricket.Please make sporting pitches.Its really hard for the fast bowlers to bowl at the flat tracks.I really feel happy for balaji. he has come back from injury. playiny this ranji season after 3 years, he has proved himself in flat tracks.He should be travelling to Newzealand for test matches. I am really shocked that TN has lost the semi final.They were consistent througt the seanson.They really messed the chance of going to final. while batting they 300/2 then suddenly they lost 5 wickets in the 2nd day morning. when up was batting they removed 3 frontline batsmen for 65. they should have played Yomahesh instead of leftarm spinner suresh.They should have played arun karthik

  • abhishek on January 8, 2009, 8:14 GMT

    Flat pitches make the game boring.While watching such games on the TV people get bored plus the broadcaster Neo does not use hawkeye,snick-o-meter or hotspot making the domestic games more boring.

  • Homer on January 7, 2009, 17:32 GMT

    If a wicket has not deteriorated on the 4th day, odds of it changing complexion on the 5th are remote. So, adding the extra day will have no real bearing on the contest.

    Instead, there should be points awarded for result oriented pitches - pitches that produce the most results ( and are within the parameters of fairness), should get to host the knockouts, semis and finals.

    If the BCCI is really serious about the pitch quality, domestic results must be a factor in awarding Tests and ODIs - roads like the Kotla and Chennai should not be considered while most result oriented wickets should.

    Also, a graded payment scheme for curators may help - you produce result oriented wickets, you get compensated accordingly.

    And one last thing - Delhi must be penalized for producing a green top in the must win game against Orissa while producing a road for all their other home games.

    Cheers,

  • Mandar Kelkar on January 7, 2009, 16:18 GMT

    I see multiple things attributing to the scenario. First - the pitch : The pitch should be sporting , may be slightly in favor of bowlers so that the batsmen(their technique) are really tested. Second - The duration should be 5 days. Third - I think there arent any quality bowlers who can really trouble the batsmen on a good flat track in the domestic circuit. We need spinners with lots of variations (like Murli, Mendis) or seamers with lot of guile (like Akram, Waqar). Unfortunately we have the bowlers who would be effective only when the conditions suit them.

  • Dev Gavaskar on January 7, 2009, 16:14 GMT

    Dear Akash: In response to your blog I wanted to ask you a question. I am sure that the frustration of the fans and the followers of the Indian Domestic Scene, is shared by the actual players who have to bear this "boring" torture that spans over 4-days. I wanted to know if captains bring this issue up during the pre-season captain's meeting? Moreover, if someone does bring this issue up, is an alternative suggested too? Or is the question just thrown up in the air (for the authorities to tackle it at some time)? On a separate note, complaining about rules after the tournament has started is a case of wasted tears, and regardless of what one thinks about it you have to get on with it. I don't know if many people know this, but if Saurashtra would have batted out their first innings without getting bowled out, Saurashtra would've progressed to the Finals. So you see even though it was reduced to a 1-inng match, you could still have a strategy to suit your needs and make your case.

  • Yayathy on January 7, 2009, 16:09 GMT

    Let the matches end in this fashion with these wickets. Why cant we try some 5 super overs to decide the winner in the knockout stage. This will surely attract spectators even when the match is heading to a draw Cheers!!!!!

  • samuel on January 7, 2009, 16:03 GMT

    Format has been same always.. Mumbai won since its has formidable batting line up... 2 of season's highest run scorer in mumbai..wasim and rahane.. Now look at U.P.. they lead chasing... and TN won the toss there and gave away the bag. its like one day match without limitations of overs stretch to 4 days.

    I see everything right.. but yes extending another day wudnt harm. But let the domestic guys have pressure right from 1st inn and get used to performing with swords hanging on thier head. and not live 'another day'.

  • Sitanshu Shekhar on January 7, 2009, 14:39 GMT

    Hi Akash,

    Even though you do make a valid statement, I do not totally agree with your points. First of all, one couldn;t have asked for a more thrilling match than the UP - Tamil Nadu match. I was literally jumping on my seat when I read UP had crossed 445 (Cricinfo wasn't even covering the match!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-| . I still haven't forgiven you for defeating UP in last year's final ;-)

    But, I do agree with you about the matches being totally one dimensional against the bowlers. I think even 4 day matches can be made exciting by simply providing more sporting pitches for the bowlers!

    Well, anyways, I am already looking for the final and hoping UP picks up the coveted trophy again.

    BTW Can UP now be confirmed as the most consistent Ranji Team? 3 finals in 4 years isn't too bad!

  • Shefali on January 7, 2009, 14:36 GMT

    Hi Aakash, I was just hoping that you come out with this article. Mumbai may have been Ranji champions over 30 times, but they have lost all respect by just playing out the dullest draw in the semi finals. Their tactics were shocking, they should be disqualified and to claim they were confused about the rules? Would have prefered watching Delhi or even HP play Saurashtra in the semi's as this game was unaccaptable. After this game its no surprise that people stay away from domestic cricket. Also Chennai was enetertained with the wonderful test, and to produce a wicket like this for the premier domestic tournament in India? The quarter finals were exciting games what were Mumbai thinking, doesnt matter if you have Sachin and Zaheer, play to win, how many of the players playing this game enjoyed it? Anyways Aakash, good luck with the book release, my hope its a successful venture, and hopefully I can get my copy signed soon.

  • Sitanshu Shekhar on January 7, 2009, 14:23 GMT

    Hi Akash,

    Even though you do make a valid statement, I do not totally agree with your points. First of all, one couldn;t have asked for a more thrilling match than the UP - Tamil Nadu match. I was literally jumping on my seat when I read UP had crossed 445 (Cricinfo wasn't even covering the match!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-| . I still haven't forgiven you for defeating UP in last year's final ;-)

    But, I do agree with you about the matches being totally one dimensional against the bowlers. I think even 4 day matches can be made exciting by simply providing more sporting pitches for the bowlers!

    Well, anyways, I am already looking for the final and hoping UP picks up the coveted trophy again.

    BTW Can UP now be confirmed as the most consistent Ranji Team? 3 finals in 4 years isn't too bad!

  • Dilip on January 7, 2009, 13:50 GMT

    It only can produce result if Match is timeless !!!! 10 days ,15 days play on and on and on.

  • roshan on January 7, 2009, 13:32 GMT

    not sure if the pitches will change in india but the solution to this problem is having points allocated on the basis of run rates, so each team get 120 overs if within this period u score 250 u get 1 point 300 gets2 350 3 400 4 and 450-5 beyond that u dont get points also 5 wickets in 120 overs get 1 6 get2 and so on this way teams will be encouraged to score at a faster run rate and thus make the match more interesting also in case a team wins they get 10 additional points and the same rules apply for the second innings with slight modifications this will encourage teams to declare at a reasonable score and try earning more points and the same rules should apply for the knock out and finals

  • thomas on January 7, 2009, 13:31 GMT

    Dear Akash, I find it a case of sour grapes. If Delhi were playing the semi's instead of Saurashtra you would not have critised the pitches but you would have gone on to sing praises of how wonderful you all have done. Please dont take anything away from the triple ton of Wasim Jaffer or the innings played by SS Shukla, the lion hearted performance from the UP team. UP lead by Kaif was being underestimated by all against Gujurat they were being billed as underdogs, against TN they were the underdogs. You from delhi team must not forget the last Ranji trophy final were they had a first innings lead over Delhi. Had it rained or had it not been for that terrific innings from Ghambir you would not have won the last Ranji Trophy Final

  • kesav koundinya on January 7, 2009, 13:26 GMT

    well said. limit this to 120 overs/90 overs in first and second innings. prepare good sporting track. all the best for your book and move to serious commentary Reg kesav koundinya

  • kesav koundinya on January 7, 2009, 13:22 GMT

    well said Mr.chopra. interest levels are dwindled once we know the pattern of the game well in advance. yes we all know certain players are Ranji darkaris and file on the Runs.If any early chances being given, its the end for the teams. The best way is limit the overs say 120 in first end 90 for second innings. should be of five day affairs. Also need to look for seriously for sporting tracks. How we judge the competency on feather beds. still we have good pool of medium fast fraternity. all the best for your new book. move to serious commentary work. Reg kesav koundinya

  • Siva Paturi on January 7, 2009, 13:22 GMT

    After so many years, I paid attention to the Semi Final matches over the last 4 days. It was such a waste of time seriously. It was such a flawed format. How can anyone decide the winners by first innings total. In the recent past we have witnessed spectacular test matches where teams that conceded first innings lead actually went on winning the matches.

    In my opinion the administrators should make these formats more competitive otherwise we will continue seeing a huge gap between domestic and international players. A few things that i can think of are 1. Use tracks that assist bowlers. A true testament of a batsman's skill is when they make a hundred on a spinnig or seaming track. 2. Make NRR a deciding factor in case of a draw 3. Impose a max number of overs a team can bat i.e 120 overs for 1st Innings

  • David on January 7, 2009, 13:20 GMT

    Not only 5 Days, but also putting restriction on National Duty players to have played atleast one league phase match to be eligible to play in the KOs. Their presence in the team only for KOs robs the opponents of team balance/form etc.

  • David on January 7, 2009, 13:20 GMT

    Not only 5 Days, but also putting restriction on National Duty players to have played atleast one league phase match to be eligible to play in the KOs. Their presence in the team only for KOs robs the opponents of team balance/form etc.

  • jagjit singh on January 7, 2009, 12:40 GMT

    i think better idea is five day cricket rather than four days.states have to produce supportive wickets for both batsman and bowlers.wish you good luck on relising your book.

  • Deepak Sar on January 7, 2009, 12:34 GMT

    Hey Aakash, All the Best for your book. I couldn't agree more to the point that the flat pitches kill the test / taste of cricket. This is the breeding ground that puts the thinking of "safety first" when we play international test cricket. BCCI must definitely look at changing the way we play our domestic cricket. This is our breeding ground and we have to ensure that we do right things to get the right crop, that will bring laurels to India. All the best again for your book

  • Ganesh on January 7, 2009, 12:34 GMT

    It would be nice if they have restrictions of overs in each innings. Like in the 1st innings a team can play only upto 100 overs and in the second innings restrict to 80 overs. Then there is a good chance of a result.

  • N J Patel on January 7, 2009, 12:31 GMT

    Perhaps a solution is to decide such knock-out matches which end without a full cricketing result (NOT just a first innings lead) through the lottery of a "bowl out" or its recent "bat out" one over equivalent. Also, the curator and the host association which provide such dull pitches should be subjected to massive penalties, such as large fines and being excluded from the rota for hosting International matches for the next two seasons.

  • Ganesh on January 7, 2009, 12:30 GMT

    It would be nice if they have restrictions of overs in each innings. Like in the 1st innings a team can play only upto 100 overs and in the second innings restrict to 80 overs. Then there is a good chance of a result.

  • Yusuf Pachorawala on January 7, 2009, 12:25 GMT

    I do not understand why they had to select neutral venues for the knock outs? We do not have any spectators as it is for Domestic Cricket, Atleast by letting one of the teams host , there would be some crowd. Who from Chennai would want to see a Saurashtra- Mumbai match? And there would be a few in Mumbai or Saurashtra who would wanna see but wouldn't definitely travel to Chennai for it.

  • Abhimanyu Agarwalla on January 7, 2009, 12:18 GMT

    Akash,

    I agree mostly with what you have to say. Personally, it is a farce that one can win on a first innings lead especially after what we have seen in Test cricket this year.

    However, until people stop referring to good batting tracks as good tracks, this will continue.

    Test cricket is about two bowling sides taking 20 wickets each and batting sides trying to score as many runs as they can in the process.

    While, there is no doubt that double and triple centurious are the talk of the town today, the frequency of the large scores will soon bring into the question the quality of the innings, which is unfair on both player and spectators.

    It is the players responsibility to urge the groundsman to create a track responsive to bowling(& not just spin)

    At international level we can take advantage of other teams relative incompetence against spin. However, if we are to become a leading team for the long haul, we need "green" pitches at domestic level in premier tournaments

  • Vikee Parikh on January 7, 2009, 11:48 GMT

    Sorry but i tend to disagree. see what happened to TN batting first. Its does not matter if you are playing one inning or two. Also the recent aus & SA series and also the one game where bang almost pulled it off against SL shows that batting secons is an are and on day 4 and 5 its a testimony of the skill of the batsman. I agree that the ranji system need to be looked at but you cannot say that "Win the toss, Bag the match".

    But this is just my opinion.

  • sandeep on January 7, 2009, 11:44 GMT

    Hi Aakash ,Best of luck for your Book,kindly keep a complimantary copy of your book with your autograph for me :-) Very true ,If we play test matches for 5 days then why not we go for 5 days in Domestic season,it will help the best team to overcome and players will get extra 90 overs to show their skills,i have grown up watching cricket and very much follower of the game,i recommand 5 days game rather than 4. At last I recommend to give chances to under-22 cricketers in Ranji trophy like in Delhi -Manan Sharma,Yogesh Nagar,Mayank Tehlan,Gaurav Chabbra,Vikas Tokas and all ,so we will get a good breed for future.its a good time for Bhandari,Nehra,Mithun to leave space for youngsters for couple of matches atleast.

  • Anand on January 7, 2009, 11:33 GMT

    Hi, I guess they should limit the overs that the first innings could have. Say a maximum of 120 overs per team in the fisrt innings. this would ensure that there is a result. this would ensure that by the 3rd day the second innings start & there are a lot of chances that there is a result.

  • Ritesh on January 7, 2009, 11:33 GMT

    Ranji Trophy being the most prestigious domestic competition, we should have good result oriented tracks for matches and avoid those batting freindly tracks. Atleast for the knockout stage, we should have a 5 day game which will produce results and make the 5 day version more interesting. After all no one wants to see a drawn match,whether your team is winning or losing.

  • Ritesh on January 7, 2009, 11:28 GMT

    Ranji Trophy being the most prestigious domestic competition, the surface for matches should be result oriented. So that we get to see results in the knockout games. Atleast for the knockout stage the games should be of 5 days.

  • Gopi on January 7, 2009, 11:22 GMT

    The Mumbai-Saurashtra semi final is the first time I paid attention to Ranji matches. I was shocked to know that Mumbai goes to final just bcos it has got first innings lead. How could a match with 4 anticipated innings be decided based on just 2 innings? I am not going to waste anymore time on Ranji matches. This was my first, and would be my last match tuning in! good bye meaningless matches!!

  • P S Parameswaran on January 7, 2009, 11:15 GMT

    So true by Aakash Chopra as what Mumbai did they won the toss and batted first and piled on 600+ runs within 2 days...The system must change other wise we will get some dump results like these

  • Deepak Shah on January 7, 2009, 11:14 GMT

    This is one among many stupid decisions taken by BCCI. They should focus on the domestic game instead of the IPL. If they schedule domestic tournaments in a way that the top stars play, it will automatically draw crowds. Also, it will create rivalries such as Mumbai vs Delhi, Bengal vs Karnataka, etc. How stupid is it to play the matches at neutral venues? As it is, not enough people land up to watch Mumbai play in Mumbai, how many are going to land up at the Chepauk? Most importantly, the Duleep Trophy has to be made the premier domestic tournament, in a league format, with home and away games. Also ensure that most of the international stars play these games. You would have a large crowd (and TV revenues) if North played West in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Delhi or Mohali. Wouldn't one want to watch Akash, Gambhir, Sehwag, Kohli, Yuvraj against Zaheer, Munaf, Irfan and company? And Sachin, Parthiv, Jaffer, Pujara, Yusuf against Ishant, Nehra, Bhajji, and Mishra?

  • Sekhar on January 7, 2009, 11:00 GMT

    True.The recent Chennai test between India and England and the Perth test between Aus and SA are proof enough that Test cricket WILL last for eternity.What we need in India is such pitches.However I believe that rather than the pitches,the format of deciding based on first innings lead is flawed.

    All the best for your book.As an avid reader of cricket literature,I was awaiting it in October itself but better late then never.Rest assured I would be one of the top 10 buyers of the book.

  • PP on January 7, 2009, 10:59 GMT

    i think Ranji semis and a final must be played at Australia or UK..That will do

  • jignesh on January 7, 2009, 10:52 GMT

    in india there is no perfect pitche bcos indian pitches made only for batsmen or for spin bowlers. so the indian curator have to learn from australia n newzeleand how to make good pitches

  • N Krishnamoorthy on January 7, 2009, 10:35 GMT

    Does BCCI really care about domestic matches? Batsmen who score runs by the ton are caught for what they are while touring. Good wickets will ensure generation of good batsmen. You are absolutely right about winning the toss and winning the match. Only Tamilnadu with obstinate team selction and pathetic fielding can lose!

  • Aditya Boresur on January 7, 2009, 10:32 GMT

    Both these Semis were exciting contests as 1 inning matches. But having said that, another solution could be to cap each of the 4 innings to 100 overs. So the team which wins the toss may not really bat the other team out of the match. I usually tend to write a lot more, but I am running short on time right now.

  • manikandan on January 7, 2009, 10:01 GMT

    he is very correct..a mere first innings lead and qualifying 4 finals is totally ridiculous..and ranji trophy is not at all interesting if it is like tat..

  • Vijay on January 7, 2009, 9:47 GMT

    I don't see any point in making flat pitches suitable only for batsmen.We must groom young batsmen who can be good enough to get hundreds in difficult conditions.Such pitches are the main reason why we see so many youngsters doing well in India but struggling abroad.Just take the cases of Raina,Dinesh Karthik and to an extent even Yuvraj Singh. If we want to be the number 1 test team , we must make these upcoming batsmen play in tough conditions in pitches offering quite a lot to the bowlers.It will also help increase the popularity of domestic cricket in the country.

  • Rajkumar on January 7, 2009, 9:38 GMT

    Spot on Aakash! The current scenario makes ranji trophy boring and that's the reason why there are not many fans in the stadium. BCCI must look for some alternative so that the old rules are re-framed to make ranji trophy interesting and worth a watch instead of sitting just to see the batsmen continuously dispatching the bowlers out of the park. This can also change the mentality of local players which makes them suitable for international cricket. Wishing you good luck for your upcoming book. Keep going!

  • pd on January 7, 2009, 8:06 GMT

    very true...the pitches in india are tailor made for the batsmen...i think we should see some more pitches like da kotla one where delhi played orissa...that way we can expect results,matches will be more fun to watch and indian batsmen will also get a feel of things to expect in overseas tours....really love ur blogs...r very articulate and to the point...m lookin forward to readn ur book...really liked ur piece on dhoni in india today...as a writer...u rock....as a batsman though i wd rather watch da highlights of ur innings:)

  • Hari on January 7, 2009, 8:04 GMT

    Well said Aakash! Its high time that BCCI starts doing something about such pitches for first class cricket. It has been really boring to watch the Mumbai vs Saurashtra semifinal match on TV as there has been nothing much happening for the entire duration of the game. There has been simply been no contest between bat and ball. Such matches would only result in BCCI losing people like me who still try and watch domestic cricket. Its just not about telecasting and earning revenues these matches, but it should be more about producing pitches which serves Indian first class cricket and its fans better.

  • Madhu on January 7, 2009, 7:59 GMT

    The system needs a serious overhaul. It is appalling to see teams playing with absolutely no intention of winning the game. The points system, even in the league stages needs to be skewed where a first innings lead is not as rewarding. 5 day games in knockouts is a must.

    For years our players lacked the killer instinct so needed at the international level and it is primarily because of this lacuna in our domestic structure. The fact that we have players like Sehwag & Dhoni is despite the system, not because of it.

  • Rajit on January 7, 2009, 7:52 GMT

    Hitting the nail on the head...Knock outs should be a 5 day affair as it will also bring skills of the bowlers to the fore.

  • venkat on January 7, 2009, 7:31 GMT

    Flat pitches rob the fun. Best of luck for your book :)

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  • venkat on January 7, 2009, 7:31 GMT

    Flat pitches rob the fun. Best of luck for your book :)

  • Rajit on January 7, 2009, 7:52 GMT

    Hitting the nail on the head...Knock outs should be a 5 day affair as it will also bring skills of the bowlers to the fore.

  • Madhu on January 7, 2009, 7:59 GMT

    The system needs a serious overhaul. It is appalling to see teams playing with absolutely no intention of winning the game. The points system, even in the league stages needs to be skewed where a first innings lead is not as rewarding. 5 day games in knockouts is a must.

    For years our players lacked the killer instinct so needed at the international level and it is primarily because of this lacuna in our domestic structure. The fact that we have players like Sehwag & Dhoni is despite the system, not because of it.

  • Hari on January 7, 2009, 8:04 GMT

    Well said Aakash! Its high time that BCCI starts doing something about such pitches for first class cricket. It has been really boring to watch the Mumbai vs Saurashtra semifinal match on TV as there has been nothing much happening for the entire duration of the game. There has been simply been no contest between bat and ball. Such matches would only result in BCCI losing people like me who still try and watch domestic cricket. Its just not about telecasting and earning revenues these matches, but it should be more about producing pitches which serves Indian first class cricket and its fans better.

  • pd on January 7, 2009, 8:06 GMT

    very true...the pitches in india are tailor made for the batsmen...i think we should see some more pitches like da kotla one where delhi played orissa...that way we can expect results,matches will be more fun to watch and indian batsmen will also get a feel of things to expect in overseas tours....really love ur blogs...r very articulate and to the point...m lookin forward to readn ur book...really liked ur piece on dhoni in india today...as a writer...u rock....as a batsman though i wd rather watch da highlights of ur innings:)

  • Rajkumar on January 7, 2009, 9:38 GMT

    Spot on Aakash! The current scenario makes ranji trophy boring and that's the reason why there are not many fans in the stadium. BCCI must look for some alternative so that the old rules are re-framed to make ranji trophy interesting and worth a watch instead of sitting just to see the batsmen continuously dispatching the bowlers out of the park. This can also change the mentality of local players which makes them suitable for international cricket. Wishing you good luck for your upcoming book. Keep going!

  • Vijay on January 7, 2009, 9:47 GMT

    I don't see any point in making flat pitches suitable only for batsmen.We must groom young batsmen who can be good enough to get hundreds in difficult conditions.Such pitches are the main reason why we see so many youngsters doing well in India but struggling abroad.Just take the cases of Raina,Dinesh Karthik and to an extent even Yuvraj Singh. If we want to be the number 1 test team , we must make these upcoming batsmen play in tough conditions in pitches offering quite a lot to the bowlers.It will also help increase the popularity of domestic cricket in the country.

  • manikandan on January 7, 2009, 10:01 GMT

    he is very correct..a mere first innings lead and qualifying 4 finals is totally ridiculous..and ranji trophy is not at all interesting if it is like tat..

  • Aditya Boresur on January 7, 2009, 10:32 GMT

    Both these Semis were exciting contests as 1 inning matches. But having said that, another solution could be to cap each of the 4 innings to 100 overs. So the team which wins the toss may not really bat the other team out of the match. I usually tend to write a lot more, but I am running short on time right now.

  • N Krishnamoorthy on January 7, 2009, 10:35 GMT

    Does BCCI really care about domestic matches? Batsmen who score runs by the ton are caught for what they are while touring. Good wickets will ensure generation of good batsmen. You are absolutely right about winning the toss and winning the match. Only Tamilnadu with obstinate team selction and pathetic fielding can lose!