Ranji one-dayers 2008-09 February 24, 2009

Picturesque venues, tiresome travel

The Ranji one-day matches for North Zone were conducted in Himachal Pradesh this year
22



The Ranji one-day matches for North Zone were conducted in Himachal Pradesh this year. The choice of venue is based on a rotation policy and this year it was their turn to host the games. The state needs to have three grounds to hold this tournament because three matches are played every match day as we have five state teams and the Services in the north zone. We played our first two games in one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the world – the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Ground in Dharamsala.

The snow-covered peaks in the backdrop add to the charm of playing cricket in this mountain city. The hotel we chose to stay in was about half an hour's drive away from the ground and driving in that kind of terrain can be a bit of a bother for some, but once you set foot on the ground, everything else fades into oblivion. I must mention here that a lot of thinking and hard work has gone into building this facility and other associations can take a cue on just how much can be achieved if one has vision and the passion. The track is also almost ideal to play cricket on as it offers enough for everyone in the business. It won't be long before an international match or a national camp is held here.

The tournament finishes in nine days as the matches are held on every alternate day and if the rest day in-between includes travelling, it can get gruelling for the players. Contrary to popular belief, a one-day match takes a lot out of a player and the lack of adequate rest and time to recover can lead to injuries and fatigue. One might suggest a player-rotation system but with selection for the Deodhar Trophy, the one-day zonal tournament, at stake one can't afford to take a break because in the end it's all about the numbers: how many runs and how many wickets a player took.

As I mentioned earlier, we played our first two games at Dharamsala and the third match was held at Una which is three hours from Dharamsala. Since the hotel at Una is adjacent to the city's bus station we tried to spend as little time in Una as possible. The incessant honking of the vehicles deprives you of much needed sleep after the game.

Here comes the most annoying feature of our scheduling. After playing the third game at Una we went back to Dharamsala to play the fourth game before coming back to Una to play the fifth and final match. Basically we played three games at Dharamshala and two at Una, which is absolutely fine, but what irks me is the fact that it wasn't scheduled in a better manner, so as to avoid such to-and-fro trips that only adds to the player's fatigue.

Why did we play the third and the fifth game in Una? Why couldn't we finish our games in Dharamsala before shifting base to Una for the last two matches? And we weren't the only team doing the shuttling between Dharamsala. There were other teams too. Only a small amount of commonsense and understanding would have saved us the ordeal. But is anyone listening?

Playing the Ranji one-day matches takes you to the old days of playing matches within the zone and keeping an eye on other teams involved because only two qualify for the knock-outs. Domestic competition ceases to be a national event for these few days. Only when your team qualifies do you ask about the other teams qualifying from the other zones, as you would eventually be playing against one of them. The general consensus among the players is that now that we have the Elite and Plate groups in the Ranji Trophy we must continue with the same format for the shorter version as well. There are always at least a couple of teams in every zone which are pushovers, but they help boost the individual performances of players, which might be enough to fetch them a place in the zonal side. But this fails to deliver a true reflection of their talent.

Cheers

PS: Please send the questions you would like me to answer in the next post. Tx :)

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

  • Vinod Dhar on March 12, 2009, 9:30 GMT

    Well I remember that when Pakistan toured India in 2006-07, the same venue was chosen to host a practice match for the visiting team. On one hand weather did not permit full usage of the entire duration of match, and on the other it was a bit hectic for the administration to ferry the teams over there. Even Pakistan team had to be divided into 2 groups as the nearby air strip can manage only very small planes. In those terms, it would be very hectic to make travel arrangements to such places. Now then IPL has also planned to host few matches at this venue, it remains to be seen whether the travel arrangements would be ok with one and every one.

  • Abhishek on February 27, 2009, 19:59 GMT

    Hey Akash

    Congrats Man on release of your book. You are good writer.. and better batsman. So keep on batting. Can you please tell me where I need to buy the copy of your Book online? I am currently located in US.. But I hope they can mail it or something.. Do let me know if you get this messsage. Its been pleasure reading all your articles. I liked the one where you described about the food for domestic cricketers. Can you write one more column about food as international cricketer. That is always good to know. Otherwise one can never get insight what's the life off the field for cricketer. Also one more question for you, Do you read the comments that you get on cricinfo articles??? Bcoz I always wonder if you even follow it or not?? The most imp thing is you keep doing your batting going for delhi.. Hayden got back very late to international cricket.. still made it.. You might be destined with same fortune.. But for that keep scoring tons of runs for Delhi..

    Take Care Buddy

  • Advait on February 27, 2009, 2:21 GMT

    Hey Akash,

    Awesome pic of the ground, made me search on the web for more. Is this ground located in Chail? Which claimed to be world's highest cricket ground. I bet there were physical challenges to playing at such high altitudes.

    Thanks again for your blog.

  • Raj Raguraman on February 25, 2009, 15:39 GMT

    Hi Aakash,

    I was highly impressed by the grounds picturesque beauty. What are the steps do you think one can take to improve transportation to/from the ground so that international matches can be held there. Also does it have enough lighting facilities. I really would like to watch an international match there.

  • Arnav Anjaria on February 25, 2009, 12:57 GMT

    Hi Aakash, wonderful article! Well don't you think theres vested interest of quite a few individuals behind not striving to make domestic cricket very Popular in India. Because there exist a lot of flaws in the functioning of state cricket associations, the most visible being the team selection. Had it been very popular, like it is, in say Australia or England then it reduces the chances of any purposeful descripancy? Like in todays era, it would seem impossible for the selectors to simply drop someone like Ravindra Jadeja from the T20 team or well the whole nation is angered at exclusion of Cheteshwar Poojara and Abhishekh Nair from the test and one day teams respectively. regards

  • Akash on February 25, 2009, 11:41 GMT

    hi aakash

    very good one mate

    and a request for ur next blog:is the money earned through domestic cricket sustainable.Can all domestic cricketers earn enough for sustenance of their families or they have to alternative work during off season......after they retire ...etc

  • Satyanand on February 25, 2009, 4:10 GMT

    Hi Akash , I have always wondered why the Domestic matches are not popular ,whereas the IPL seems to be such a success. If we ignore the 4 foriegn players per team , it would basically boil down to a majority of Indian players. Most ranji matches nowadays are playing to empty stands . Any thoughts on how to improve the attendance? For one , I think the State/Club youth teams can be encouraged to watch and learn from the matches(atleast)

  • Yogesh on February 25, 2009, 0:44 GMT

    May be after your retirement, you can consider writing a book "Questions to Ponder for BCCI". Some of the very valid issues your raise are swept under the carpet when media or fans talk about domestic cricket. And here is my question : How do you react watching your state-mates Viru & Gambhir ? Every shot they play is just making things harder for you to get back into the team. I don't hint at any jealousy or silly stuff but I think it is wierd when you have to feel happy for your colleague(even good friends) knowing that his success makes things difficult for you.

  • Varun Srivastava, Wellington, New Zealand on February 24, 2009, 22:18 GMT

    Nice article, according to me the person who rosters the matches should be an ex-cricketer rather than some official who has only seen cricket not played. I agree to the idea of having matches in places like Dharamshala and Una but these places should have adequate facilities, recently I read an article in cricinfo regarding suffering of our services team and after reading the article I failed to agree that we are talking of national level cricket. I can't understand why the board cannot have atleast standared Hotels and normal facilities in the stadium. I live in New Zealand and I am part of the Cricket Association, here even U-19 club cricket teams have their own dietitian, Physio and the Manager/Coach{in some teams Managers doubles up as coach} who looks after the itinerary. Having said all this, I know for the fact that BCCI is much more wealthier compared to New Zealand Cricket Board. All I mean is it does'nt take a lot to do proper planning if we want to look after our players.

  • Sriram on February 24, 2009, 21:18 GMT

    It is refreshing to read a blog from a player explaining happenings in the tour instead of just match analysis (we have an overdose of that already). I am a fan!! P.S: Great job on your book!

  • Vinod Dhar on March 12, 2009, 9:30 GMT

    Well I remember that when Pakistan toured India in 2006-07, the same venue was chosen to host a practice match for the visiting team. On one hand weather did not permit full usage of the entire duration of match, and on the other it was a bit hectic for the administration to ferry the teams over there. Even Pakistan team had to be divided into 2 groups as the nearby air strip can manage only very small planes. In those terms, it would be very hectic to make travel arrangements to such places. Now then IPL has also planned to host few matches at this venue, it remains to be seen whether the travel arrangements would be ok with one and every one.

  • Abhishek on February 27, 2009, 19:59 GMT

    Hey Akash

    Congrats Man on release of your book. You are good writer.. and better batsman. So keep on batting. Can you please tell me where I need to buy the copy of your Book online? I am currently located in US.. But I hope they can mail it or something.. Do let me know if you get this messsage. Its been pleasure reading all your articles. I liked the one where you described about the food for domestic cricketers. Can you write one more column about food as international cricketer. That is always good to know. Otherwise one can never get insight what's the life off the field for cricketer. Also one more question for you, Do you read the comments that you get on cricinfo articles??? Bcoz I always wonder if you even follow it or not?? The most imp thing is you keep doing your batting going for delhi.. Hayden got back very late to international cricket.. still made it.. You might be destined with same fortune.. But for that keep scoring tons of runs for Delhi..

    Take Care Buddy

  • Advait on February 27, 2009, 2:21 GMT

    Hey Akash,

    Awesome pic of the ground, made me search on the web for more. Is this ground located in Chail? Which claimed to be world's highest cricket ground. I bet there were physical challenges to playing at such high altitudes.

    Thanks again for your blog.

  • Raj Raguraman on February 25, 2009, 15:39 GMT

    Hi Aakash,

    I was highly impressed by the grounds picturesque beauty. What are the steps do you think one can take to improve transportation to/from the ground so that international matches can be held there. Also does it have enough lighting facilities. I really would like to watch an international match there.

  • Arnav Anjaria on February 25, 2009, 12:57 GMT

    Hi Aakash, wonderful article! Well don't you think theres vested interest of quite a few individuals behind not striving to make domestic cricket very Popular in India. Because there exist a lot of flaws in the functioning of state cricket associations, the most visible being the team selection. Had it been very popular, like it is, in say Australia or England then it reduces the chances of any purposeful descripancy? Like in todays era, it would seem impossible for the selectors to simply drop someone like Ravindra Jadeja from the T20 team or well the whole nation is angered at exclusion of Cheteshwar Poojara and Abhishekh Nair from the test and one day teams respectively. regards

  • Akash on February 25, 2009, 11:41 GMT

    hi aakash

    very good one mate

    and a request for ur next blog:is the money earned through domestic cricket sustainable.Can all domestic cricketers earn enough for sustenance of their families or they have to alternative work during off season......after they retire ...etc

  • Satyanand on February 25, 2009, 4:10 GMT

    Hi Akash , I have always wondered why the Domestic matches are not popular ,whereas the IPL seems to be such a success. If we ignore the 4 foriegn players per team , it would basically boil down to a majority of Indian players. Most ranji matches nowadays are playing to empty stands . Any thoughts on how to improve the attendance? For one , I think the State/Club youth teams can be encouraged to watch and learn from the matches(atleast)

  • Yogesh on February 25, 2009, 0:44 GMT

    May be after your retirement, you can consider writing a book "Questions to Ponder for BCCI". Some of the very valid issues your raise are swept under the carpet when media or fans talk about domestic cricket. And here is my question : How do you react watching your state-mates Viru & Gambhir ? Every shot they play is just making things harder for you to get back into the team. I don't hint at any jealousy or silly stuff but I think it is wierd when you have to feel happy for your colleague(even good friends) knowing that his success makes things difficult for you.

  • Varun Srivastava, Wellington, New Zealand on February 24, 2009, 22:18 GMT

    Nice article, according to me the person who rosters the matches should be an ex-cricketer rather than some official who has only seen cricket not played. I agree to the idea of having matches in places like Dharamshala and Una but these places should have adequate facilities, recently I read an article in cricinfo regarding suffering of our services team and after reading the article I failed to agree that we are talking of national level cricket. I can't understand why the board cannot have atleast standared Hotels and normal facilities in the stadium. I live in New Zealand and I am part of the Cricket Association, here even U-19 club cricket teams have their own dietitian, Physio and the Manager/Coach{in some teams Managers doubles up as coach} who looks after the itinerary. Having said all this, I know for the fact that BCCI is much more wealthier compared to New Zealand Cricket Board. All I mean is it does'nt take a lot to do proper planning if we want to look after our players.

  • Sriram on February 24, 2009, 21:18 GMT

    It is refreshing to read a blog from a player explaining happenings in the tour instead of just match analysis (we have an overdose of that already). I am a fan!! P.S: Great job on your book!

  • Neha J on February 24, 2009, 17:25 GMT

    Hey! Seems like you had a good time and tournament..! Good luck for the next game! As for the next blog; captaincy, remember? Take care!

  • aditya on February 24, 2009, 16:57 GMT

    Hi Akash,

    Beautiful post again.

    I had a question for you: Just like you discussed about cricket balls in your 2 previous blogs, can you give us insights into a batsman's gear such as bats, pads, helmets, etc. I know there are english and kashmir willow bats. which ones are better and why?

    would love your insight on these things.

    keep writing, regards, aditya

  • Denzil Correa on February 24, 2009, 16:54 GMT

    Hi Aakash, I am a near regular follower of your blog and most articles at Cricinfo. I would like to know if the player opinions are taken into consideration while deciding the itinerary. In international cricket, the two member boards sit and decide the itinerary. Who decides the same for the domestic matches?

    All the best for your one-day campaign. If possible can you explain how teams qualify for the Ranji one dayers?

    Thanks,

  • ravi on February 24, 2009, 16:19 GMT

    as usal a nise article from u akash..now a days i got so habitated to u r articals i am checking for u r article everyday when i logon to cricinfo.. i have hit the nail on head regarding scheduling. as u said the elite/plate should be intorduced here also to bring out the best out of the players and also the ODI team should be selected on these performances not getting runs in 4day game and that guy will be treid for ODI..is it fair???

  • Raghu on February 24, 2009, 15:18 GMT

    Aakash, saw your scores in the tournament looks like your in a purple patch, hope you continue making the big runs.

    Here's my question ,i am sure its hard to adjust to a higher level of the game when you take a step up but how difficult is it for a player to adjust to a lower level of the game after having played at the highest level, for instance you have played in the best of the grounds and against the best bowlers in the world in Australia how difficult is it to adjust to the not so great grounds and to face a lower quality if i may say so of the bowlers in domestic cricket.

  • Sekhar on February 24, 2009, 13:00 GMT

    "Domestic competition ceases to be a national event for these few days"

    Just wait for a few months and you would be surprised at the interest that these domestic games will start generating.Anyone who makes it to the Indian team becomes the talk of the town these days and when these guys go back to play for their state sides,the fans which these guys garner during their international stint start following his domestic progress.My company's discussion board recently slammed Amit Mishra for giving away 6+ runs/over for North Zone in the recent Duleep Trophy match.This is only a sign of things to come.I am sure one day we would see online discussion forums talking about a Rajat Bhatia century or an Ashwin 5-wicket haul or an Aakash Chopra's inspiring captaincy.

    Questions for your next post.I have only one--Your opinion on the rise of Gambhir and Ishant in the international scene.Also your views on Viru's present form.(Oops I said one but ended up with two questions.Never mind !)

  • Vikram Kewalramani on February 24, 2009, 12:31 GMT

    Hey Akash, Love your book. I live in Canada but I made sure that I got one sent to me as I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts. According to you, what is the difference in pre-match preparation between a test player v/s an above average Ranji player for the same game? (Lets say a Laxman v/s a Mithun Minhas)? or to compare Apples with apples (how do you/ Gambhir differ in prep v/s a Rajat Bhatia/ Minhas? ) thanks, vikram

  • Devraj on February 24, 2009, 12:23 GMT

    Hey Akash how r u. It was nice to see u in Aus a few years back. As luck wud have it, u went to oblivion and all of a sudden i cud see ur name every now and then being discussed in the last 2 seasons. I feel bad for u in the same vein as someone from my city V. Bharadwaj. He too was immensely talented as u are but faded. I want to ask u, there are a few players who r not so gifted but have played for longer. Is this bcoz of nepotism from captains and media or is it really they are potent and are given number of chances to expose their potential. Please answer

  • Angi on February 24, 2009, 11:20 GMT

    Dharamsala is a beautiful place - wonderful scenery and locations.

    I'm a bit curious to know one thing - when did you first debut in the Ranji Trophy? I mean, did you represent your school teams first and then some clubs - basically, how did you get noticed?

    Angi

  • Chintan Shah on February 24, 2009, 11:00 GMT

    Hi Aakash Iam a big fan of your articles on Cricinfo. I was trying to get your book in local bookstores but could not get it. Maybe I didnt try enough, but I would surely buy it soon. My Question to you is about our domestic cricket scheduling. English county also has 4 tournaments just like we have, they also have a 2 tier approach, plus they have 20-20 tournaments too which we do not have thanks to IPL. Why cant we have the schedule just like them, the counties play 4 day games in week and play a one dayer over weekend, that way both Ranji Trophy and Ranji-One dayers can be held together Similarly Duleep Trophy needs more matches , it simply cannot be a knockout tournament. Duleep and Deodhar trophy can similarly be planned. English counties have their schdules ready in advance and known to public atleast 3-4 months before, why cant we have that. Players Association should take this up with BCCI. Also the Captains and Administrators should make this point priority in their reports.

  • Haider on February 24, 2009, 10:37 GMT

    Very interesting to read your accounts. Just wish Cricinfo could get hold of a Pakistani cricketer too for one diary about Pakistan domestic cricket.

  • Avi Singh on February 24, 2009, 9:50 GMT

    Hi Aakash,

    Excellent column. I was wondering if you could please reminisce about your time in the Indian team and in particular your favourite Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman moments.

    Cheers Avi Singh

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Avi Singh on February 24, 2009, 9:50 GMT

    Hi Aakash,

    Excellent column. I was wondering if you could please reminisce about your time in the Indian team and in particular your favourite Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman moments.

    Cheers Avi Singh

  • Haider on February 24, 2009, 10:37 GMT

    Very interesting to read your accounts. Just wish Cricinfo could get hold of a Pakistani cricketer too for one diary about Pakistan domestic cricket.

  • Chintan Shah on February 24, 2009, 11:00 GMT

    Hi Aakash Iam a big fan of your articles on Cricinfo. I was trying to get your book in local bookstores but could not get it. Maybe I didnt try enough, but I would surely buy it soon. My Question to you is about our domestic cricket scheduling. English county also has 4 tournaments just like we have, they also have a 2 tier approach, plus they have 20-20 tournaments too which we do not have thanks to IPL. Why cant we have the schedule just like them, the counties play 4 day games in week and play a one dayer over weekend, that way both Ranji Trophy and Ranji-One dayers can be held together Similarly Duleep Trophy needs more matches , it simply cannot be a knockout tournament. Duleep and Deodhar trophy can similarly be planned. English counties have their schdules ready in advance and known to public atleast 3-4 months before, why cant we have that. Players Association should take this up with BCCI. Also the Captains and Administrators should make this point priority in their reports.

  • Angi on February 24, 2009, 11:20 GMT

    Dharamsala is a beautiful place - wonderful scenery and locations.

    I'm a bit curious to know one thing - when did you first debut in the Ranji Trophy? I mean, did you represent your school teams first and then some clubs - basically, how did you get noticed?

    Angi

  • Devraj on February 24, 2009, 12:23 GMT

    Hey Akash how r u. It was nice to see u in Aus a few years back. As luck wud have it, u went to oblivion and all of a sudden i cud see ur name every now and then being discussed in the last 2 seasons. I feel bad for u in the same vein as someone from my city V. Bharadwaj. He too was immensely talented as u are but faded. I want to ask u, there are a few players who r not so gifted but have played for longer. Is this bcoz of nepotism from captains and media or is it really they are potent and are given number of chances to expose their potential. Please answer

  • Vikram Kewalramani on February 24, 2009, 12:31 GMT

    Hey Akash, Love your book. I live in Canada but I made sure that I got one sent to me as I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts. According to you, what is the difference in pre-match preparation between a test player v/s an above average Ranji player for the same game? (Lets say a Laxman v/s a Mithun Minhas)? or to compare Apples with apples (how do you/ Gambhir differ in prep v/s a Rajat Bhatia/ Minhas? ) thanks, vikram

  • Sekhar on February 24, 2009, 13:00 GMT

    "Domestic competition ceases to be a national event for these few days"

    Just wait for a few months and you would be surprised at the interest that these domestic games will start generating.Anyone who makes it to the Indian team becomes the talk of the town these days and when these guys go back to play for their state sides,the fans which these guys garner during their international stint start following his domestic progress.My company's discussion board recently slammed Amit Mishra for giving away 6+ runs/over for North Zone in the recent Duleep Trophy match.This is only a sign of things to come.I am sure one day we would see online discussion forums talking about a Rajat Bhatia century or an Ashwin 5-wicket haul or an Aakash Chopra's inspiring captaincy.

    Questions for your next post.I have only one--Your opinion on the rise of Gambhir and Ishant in the international scene.Also your views on Viru's present form.(Oops I said one but ended up with two questions.Never mind !)

  • Raghu on February 24, 2009, 15:18 GMT

    Aakash, saw your scores in the tournament looks like your in a purple patch, hope you continue making the big runs.

    Here's my question ,i am sure its hard to adjust to a higher level of the game when you take a step up but how difficult is it for a player to adjust to a lower level of the game after having played at the highest level, for instance you have played in the best of the grounds and against the best bowlers in the world in Australia how difficult is it to adjust to the not so great grounds and to face a lower quality if i may say so of the bowlers in domestic cricket.

  • ravi on February 24, 2009, 16:19 GMT

    as usal a nise article from u akash..now a days i got so habitated to u r articals i am checking for u r article everyday when i logon to cricinfo.. i have hit the nail on head regarding scheduling. as u said the elite/plate should be intorduced here also to bring out the best out of the players and also the ODI team should be selected on these performances not getting runs in 4day game and that guy will be treid for ODI..is it fair???

  • Denzil Correa on February 24, 2009, 16:54 GMT

    Hi Aakash, I am a near regular follower of your blog and most articles at Cricinfo. I would like to know if the player opinions are taken into consideration while deciding the itinerary. In international cricket, the two member boards sit and decide the itinerary. Who decides the same for the domestic matches?

    All the best for your one-day campaign. If possible can you explain how teams qualify for the Ranji one dayers?

    Thanks,