October 19, 2009

Looking T20, thinking Ranji

Aakash Chopra
Pradeep Sangwan bowls against Punjab, Delhi v Punjab, Ranji one-dayers, Dharamsala, February 17, 2009
 © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Hello friends

The season for Delhi, like most other states, kicks off with the domestic T20 tournament starting Tuesday. I, along with my peers, am expecting the IPL teams to keep a close eye on the tournament. Good performances here might translate into a contract with a franchise and a chance to play in the coveted IPL. Ideally one would expect the batsmen to be hitting big shots and innovating in the nets, and the bowlers to bowl a lot of yorkers and slower ones. But a visit to our practice session would prove you wrong. We’re practising in white clothes and with the red ball. Most batsmen are playing proper cricket, leaving balls outside off stump and trying to hit along the ground as much as possible. The bowlers are also doing what it takes to succeed in the longer version of the game, bowling longer spells, practising to maintain a teasing line just outside off stump.

“Are we missing something?” you might wonder.

Well, the fact is that the Ranji Trophy starts within a week of this T20 bash. While everyone understands the importance of bagging an IPL contract, the importance of performing in the longer format isn’t wasted on the players. They know that to cement a place in the state side they must do well in the Ranji Trophy. Admittedly the performances in T20 would be taken into consideration, but they will take a cricketer only so far. His season is going to be judged by what he did in the longer format. The performances in the longer format are rewarded by selection in the zonal side to play in the Duleep and Deodhar Trophies. Doing well there brings a player another major step closer to realising his ultimate dream of playing for the country.

Moreover it would be a little tough to change gears so drastically after the T20 tournament gets over. One can’t be expected to slog everything for two-three weeks while preparing for the T20 matches, and overnight develop patience and temperament to succeed in the Ranji Trophy.

Ideally the T20 tournament should happen after the domestic one-day tournament, which is just prior to the IPL. That would not only be a natural progression from one format to another, but would also provide the much required practice for the IPL.

But in case the BCCI just has to plan the T20 tournament before the start of the season, a good idea would have been to hold this tournament at least two weeks prior to the start of the Ranji Trophy. This arrangement would have given ample time to the players to prepare for both formats equally and independently.


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

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Posted by Dev on (October 24, 2009, 11:34 GMT)

This is for some of the comments above. Aakash has just highlighted the myopic way of functioning of BCCI. This has nothing to do with why one player is suitable for a format and not suitable for another. Talking of Tendulkar and his game (Sid), Sachin was made to spend the early days of his career playing 'cricketing' shots in whites for 6 hours continuously, the eason why he knows where his off stump is. Inspite of having an average and strike rate among the top five in One day, Dravid is still unsuitable for shorter versions, and inspite of constant failures, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, are the suitable ones ! There is no denying that the longer version makes a man out of a boy in cricket. Temparament, technique, skills are honed in the longer version. And in any case you cant compare the two versions, it would be like comparing a Indy car race to a Formula One, both are auto races, but both require different temperament. One can go to Indy from F1 but not vice versa.

Posted by gaurav on (October 22, 2009, 8:37 GMT)

hi aakash i completely agree with your view point. i guess BCCI is not thinking deep into domestic comptt and this has been the IRONY of indian cricket. this is one major difference between india and countries like australia and south africa. "You will only reap what you sow". BCCI is doing good great business but donno hows cricket doing? there aren't any dedicated efforts to bridge the gap between domestic and international cricket, though IPL is definitely helping this cause but only for T20 format. from a player's point of view, its becoming far more demanding, challenging and confusing. Cricket for sure is under transformation, like all other industries 'Convergence' is happening. As Test Cricket is becoming faser and T20 teams realising a need for stroke players and not slog players. Well very soon there will be a different set of categories of players like stroke players, unconventional, powerplay specialist unlike openers, middle order and sloggers. cheers!

Posted by sid on (October 21, 2009, 23:42 GMT)

I think Akaash it seems your success in Ranji Trophy and failure in polite terms in IPL due to game based on technique for test is showing in this article. Whether you admit it or not both forms of cricket are helpful and can translate from domestic cricket to International level. In Ranji you get wickets that are not of test standard and few players of quality that IPl presents like kallis , Steyn , Smith who really help you increase your confidence when you move to International level or in Indian team. I agree that performance at Ranji trophy level really helps you develop your game for future because you build temperament, technique and learn from match practice. I wonder now how come Tendulkar developed such technique and game without playing as many ranji games you did ? The moral is playing only slow, traditional cricket does not guarantee you to ability to make it and sustain at International level for such long period.

Posted by Syed Raghib on (October 21, 2009, 14:29 GMT)

hi Akash

can u also update us on whom you u think are going to the future star of India among the DOMESTICS PLAYERS.

and lets make your mark so that u can also be a great impact on IPL 3.

Posted by CricFan on (October 20, 2009, 13:31 GMT)

IPL is a great threat to cricket. It is spoiling Test Cricket, Indian Cricket and Team India. It should get rid as soon as possible.

Posted by KI.V. RAJAGOPAL on (October 20, 2009, 6:35 GMT)

Aksah you are a good thinkiign cricketer but unlucky article is good thigns have changed let the layers and administrators make money - nobody grudes but what is deplorable is that 10 persons watching a crucial Ranji game in a near em;ty stadium gone are the days when we used to throng to the stadium to watch Bishan Bedi bowl to parthasaratny Sharma and Haumant Singh of Central Zone so was the thriller of South Vs. Wes with Venkat bowling to Gavaskar

Posted by H R SRIVATSA on (October 20, 2009, 5:13 GMT)

If only BCCI thinks that way, Indian cricket would be better off. Its too much to expect of such planning from BCCI. Just look at the way they have planned the test calendar.Only three tests this year .So how can you expect that importance wil be given to the longer version.

Posted by Varun Srivastava on (October 20, 2009, 5:02 GMT)

Good article Akash...I still hope you will make your way back into Indian Team.

Posted by ashish on (October 19, 2009, 19:24 GMT)

well i am not agreed with which akash quoted here,because its a demand for the international cricket as well to adapt in different version on a single tour,so player shuld be flexible enough to be mould himself in every format according to the demand of the game,i consider those adaptation as a skill of a player.After all it becomes the matter of pride when u are playing for the country, irrespective of the format of the game.

Posted by Dinesh on (October 19, 2009, 18:06 GMT)

Good to see you back, Aakash. Also checked your website... www.cricketaakash.com. nice thought. Keep 'em coming.

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Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra is the 245th Indian to represent India in Test cricket. A batsman in the traditional mould, he played 10 Tests for India in 2003-04, and has played over 120 first-class matches. He currently plays for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy; his book Beyond the Blues was an account of the 2007-08 season. Chopra made a formidable opening combination with Virender Sehwag, which was believed to be one of the reasons for India's success in Australia and Pakistan in 2003-04. He is considered one of the best close-in fielders India has produced after Eknath Solkar.

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