Indian domestic cricket March 9, 2010

Time to scrap a few domestic tournaments?

 
19


In the current scenario, the Deodhar Trophy gets over in four days and as many as three teams may get to play only a match each © Cricinfo Ltd
 

For a cricket-crazy nation, there is perhaps nothing that can qualify as ‘too much cricket’. A game of cricket keeps everyone happy, right from the organisers, the media to the spectators. The players too get a fair deal of exposure with some good money flowing in anyway. No wonder then that it’s raining cricket all the way - a story best told by the current domestic calendar with over seven trophies squashed in a meager six months.

Good sense prevailed, when the BCCI decided to temporarily dump the Deodhar Trophy, owing to lack of time. The right wing then stood up to defend the honor of this prestigious tournament. ‘How could one of the oldest and the most exalted tournaments be scrapped?’ Well, it didn’t. The Deodhar Trophy is currently being rushed up in four flat days as opposed to its regular two-week long schedule.

Sample this – the IPL ends on April 25, while the ICC World Twenty20 starts five days later. This roster may have well managed to save a clash between the two events; it has unfortunately taken a toll on the domestic tournaments, the Deodhar Trophy being the worst hit. Now with only a total of nine days left between the finals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the beginning of the IPL, the only way out for Deodhar was to convert a hitherto league based tournament into a knockout.

Not too long ago,the Deodhar Trophy was held on a league basis wherein all teams got four games each. Four opportunities meant that the winner was the team which played well throughout the tournament and the top performers were the ones who performed consistently. In the current scenario, the tournament gets over in four days and as many as three teams may get to play only a match each, which in my mind is not enough to judge a team or a player. One off day in the field means the end of the tournament. Does it really give the players the opportunity and the platform to stake their claims? Aren’t we already devaluing what used to be an important tournament?

The Deodhar Trophy, despite being reduced to a knockout tournament, is slated to finish on March 9 while the IPL starts on the 12th. The IPL teams in turn would be left with only 2 days to get together and strategise their game plan. This certainly, by no means, can suffice for meticulous planning before an event of this huge a gravity.

The coach/captain’s decisions and strategies would then be influenced by reputations and gut feeling which is not the right way to progress. There would apparently be very little time to have a proper plan in place in which everyone has a defined role to play. And if one tries to do that, like John Buchanan did last year, it would be thrust upon the players with no room for negotiation or debate. This isn’t an ideal preparation, in turn affecting the quality of cricket played in the IPL.

Point being this - Are we sacrificing quality for quantity?

The first edition of the Champions Twenty20 League may give us some indication with this regard. Not even a single Indian team made an impact. Indian teams were outplayed on their home soil and it was New South Wales from Australia who went on to win the tournament. While we take a lot of pride in the standard of cricket played in the IPL, which is actually of high quality, our teams’ debacle at the international stage must not be ignored. After all, our teams fielded as many as four overseas cricketers as opposed to none by the overseas teams. So what was the difference? Well, all the other teams were playing together as a team throughout the year, which made up for the lack of world-class players amongst their ranks. They played as a team wherein everyone knew their roles, knew about each other’s weaknesses and strengths and looked out for their mates. On the contrary, Indian teams got together only a few days prior to the tournament and it showed. They lacked the cohesiveness of a team and were relying heavily on individuals to pull them through.

Aren’t we doing the same thing once again? We may not realise it because all the teams are equally affected by the lack of preparation but we must learn from our experience in the Champions League. The need of the hour is to either create a proper window for every domestic tournament or else do away with a couple in order to enhance the quality of the remaining tournaments. It’s the quality that attracts people to the sport and not the quantity.

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

  • santhoshkudva on March 11, 2010, 17:24 GMT

    scrap all three. ranji, duleep and deodhar. not because of their loss of importance, but because you dont respect them. not having them at all is better than conducting them in such a lackadaisical manner. let us choose the lesser of the two evils.

  • sukamal ghosh on March 11, 2010, 14:06 GMT

    i think the deodhar and duleep trophy should be scraped altogether instead they should start a tournament in lines FA cup england where all our states team would play a knockout tournament in T-20.it will huge help in promoting the games as well giving new talent a chance.imagine a good fast bowler from say goa or tripura getting a chance to bowl at sachins and sehwags and doing well.

  • Raj on March 10, 2010, 4:16 GMT

    IPL players just used Deodhar trophy to get some practice before the mage event..example: Yusuf

  • AndieRae on March 10, 2010, 0:19 GMT

    You asked the question - Are we sacrificing quality for quantity? Answer - Not at all. It has been sacrificed for the IPL. The danger is that India will lose it's cricketing identity and simply become a commercial showboat for egos and fat wallets. Money has clearly sedated the West Indies team; let's hope the same does not happen when it comes to India's 'proper' cricket. It's not as if the IPL sides shone in the Champions league.

  • SaleemB on March 10, 2010, 0:06 GMT

    Frankly I don't like the T20 format at all. It ain't cricket. I would much prefer to have an English County kind of system where instead of 20 overs the matches are played over 50 overs in the IPL. Plus a couple of foreign players should also be allowed in every Ranji team to raise the level of domestic cricket. BCCI contracted players should also be made to compulsoraily participate in a certain number of domestic games every season. The international calendar needs to be planned with the domestic calendar in mind.

    I would also do away with all the Zone competitions. To me they don't make sense in terms of enhancing cricketing abilities of players. These competitions are played just for a prestige standpoint. The all star game is a fantastic idea and the Deodhar trophy should be a knockout tournament There should just be two zones - either North and South or East and West.

  • "Punter"bonafidebeagleboy@yahoo.in on March 9, 2010, 20:50 GMT

    @Gowri... Well,I ain't biased with IPL here but I can say one thing here,no matter there has been Cash all the way in this type tournament,it has surely given players a good exposure before they head to the main battle ground. It isn't with India,other teams have been benefited from this viz Watson,White,Jadeja and many more... I see cricket more a winner here than the business bosses.. And as far as merging RCB+Karnataka and etc etc domestic franchise teams with state teams I can say that,fist priority has always been given to the local ranji domestic players and then comes other state signings..IPL is a domestic tournament,but the orthodox state names are replaced by flashy ones just like RCB for Karnataka (the id has been displayed so that,any cricket enthusiast can use it constructively in sharing his views and experiences about the game)

  • Hassan Farooqi on March 9, 2010, 17:42 GMT

    One of many reasons test cricket lost its charm is because it is no more the event of the year. I remember the pre-ODI era when no more than a couple of teams visited, and test match was indeed a test of mettle between two professional teams. Even a draw drew crowds.

  • Anurag Pandey on March 9, 2010, 13:38 GMT

    contd. The Duleep Trophy should be a knockout competition in the middle of the Ranji season. The same for the Deodhar Trophy, the teams for the Deodhar can be voted in by the fans online. It should be played mid season like the All Star game in NBA. Deodhar Trophy should last just one week (probably around Diwali/Eid). The season started should be the Irani Trophy like it is. The season ender should be the Ranji final, played after the IPL final. There should be no finals and semis for the Hazare Trophy but the winner is the league leader after playing everyone home and away (30 games). The IPL should be split into 2 divisions when the number of franchises increase. The top 8 in Hazare Trophy will go to IPL div 1 and the bottom 8 in IPL div 2. This will ensure that the franchises treat the Hazare Trophy with respect.

  • Anurag Pandey on March 9, 2010, 13:32 GMT

    Great Article. I think the domestic calendar needs a complete overhaul. The tournaments that need to be cancelled are - Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Challenger series. We don't need a domestic T20 competition when we already have the IPL. Apart from this the Vijay Hazare Trophy needs to invite the franchises to take part so Mumbai Indians replace and Delhi Daredevils replace Delhi and so on for associations which already have a franchise. In due time each association will have a franchise associated to it. No foreign players allowed for Hazare Trophy (or maybe 1 or 2 if they are available). The Hazare Trophy and Ranji Trophy should be played in parallel. 2 weeks for 4 Hazare Tophy games (home and away, during the weekend and day and night when possible). Next 2 weeks for 2 back to back Ranji games and then back to your franchise for the Hazare Trophy. This way the franchises are worked the year round and won't exist just for the IPL and Champions League.

  • Rajit on March 9, 2010, 12:46 GMT

    What you are saying is right Akash...Infact recently Rahul Dravid also pointed it out in one of the piece that India needs to schedule 5-6 home tests every winter and for all the concerned in scheduling the the domestic as well as international matches that is going to be a real challenge.As regards domestic tournaments,BCCI needs to wake up to make them more crisp and interesting from a spectator perspective...Challenger Trophy is one which must be scrapped first and also domestic T2o (Mushtaq ali trophy)

  • santhoshkudva on March 11, 2010, 17:24 GMT

    scrap all three. ranji, duleep and deodhar. not because of their loss of importance, but because you dont respect them. not having them at all is better than conducting them in such a lackadaisical manner. let us choose the lesser of the two evils.

  • sukamal ghosh on March 11, 2010, 14:06 GMT

    i think the deodhar and duleep trophy should be scraped altogether instead they should start a tournament in lines FA cup england where all our states team would play a knockout tournament in T-20.it will huge help in promoting the games as well giving new talent a chance.imagine a good fast bowler from say goa or tripura getting a chance to bowl at sachins and sehwags and doing well.

  • Raj on March 10, 2010, 4:16 GMT

    IPL players just used Deodhar trophy to get some practice before the mage event..example: Yusuf

  • AndieRae on March 10, 2010, 0:19 GMT

    You asked the question - Are we sacrificing quality for quantity? Answer - Not at all. It has been sacrificed for the IPL. The danger is that India will lose it's cricketing identity and simply become a commercial showboat for egos and fat wallets. Money has clearly sedated the West Indies team; let's hope the same does not happen when it comes to India's 'proper' cricket. It's not as if the IPL sides shone in the Champions league.

  • SaleemB on March 10, 2010, 0:06 GMT

    Frankly I don't like the T20 format at all. It ain't cricket. I would much prefer to have an English County kind of system where instead of 20 overs the matches are played over 50 overs in the IPL. Plus a couple of foreign players should also be allowed in every Ranji team to raise the level of domestic cricket. BCCI contracted players should also be made to compulsoraily participate in a certain number of domestic games every season. The international calendar needs to be planned with the domestic calendar in mind.

    I would also do away with all the Zone competitions. To me they don't make sense in terms of enhancing cricketing abilities of players. These competitions are played just for a prestige standpoint. The all star game is a fantastic idea and the Deodhar trophy should be a knockout tournament There should just be two zones - either North and South or East and West.

  • "Punter"bonafidebeagleboy@yahoo.in on March 9, 2010, 20:50 GMT

    @Gowri... Well,I ain't biased with IPL here but I can say one thing here,no matter there has been Cash all the way in this type tournament,it has surely given players a good exposure before they head to the main battle ground. It isn't with India,other teams have been benefited from this viz Watson,White,Jadeja and many more... I see cricket more a winner here than the business bosses.. And as far as merging RCB+Karnataka and etc etc domestic franchise teams with state teams I can say that,fist priority has always been given to the local ranji domestic players and then comes other state signings..IPL is a domestic tournament,but the orthodox state names are replaced by flashy ones just like RCB for Karnataka (the id has been displayed so that,any cricket enthusiast can use it constructively in sharing his views and experiences about the game)

  • Hassan Farooqi on March 9, 2010, 17:42 GMT

    One of many reasons test cricket lost its charm is because it is no more the event of the year. I remember the pre-ODI era when no more than a couple of teams visited, and test match was indeed a test of mettle between two professional teams. Even a draw drew crowds.

  • Anurag Pandey on March 9, 2010, 13:38 GMT

    contd. The Duleep Trophy should be a knockout competition in the middle of the Ranji season. The same for the Deodhar Trophy, the teams for the Deodhar can be voted in by the fans online. It should be played mid season like the All Star game in NBA. Deodhar Trophy should last just one week (probably around Diwali/Eid). The season started should be the Irani Trophy like it is. The season ender should be the Ranji final, played after the IPL final. There should be no finals and semis for the Hazare Trophy but the winner is the league leader after playing everyone home and away (30 games). The IPL should be split into 2 divisions when the number of franchises increase. The top 8 in Hazare Trophy will go to IPL div 1 and the bottom 8 in IPL div 2. This will ensure that the franchises treat the Hazare Trophy with respect.

  • Anurag Pandey on March 9, 2010, 13:32 GMT

    Great Article. I think the domestic calendar needs a complete overhaul. The tournaments that need to be cancelled are - Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Challenger series. We don't need a domestic T20 competition when we already have the IPL. Apart from this the Vijay Hazare Trophy needs to invite the franchises to take part so Mumbai Indians replace and Delhi Daredevils replace Delhi and so on for associations which already have a franchise. In due time each association will have a franchise associated to it. No foreign players allowed for Hazare Trophy (or maybe 1 or 2 if they are available). The Hazare Trophy and Ranji Trophy should be played in parallel. 2 weeks for 4 Hazare Tophy games (home and away, during the weekend and day and night when possible). Next 2 weeks for 2 back to back Ranji games and then back to your franchise for the Hazare Trophy. This way the franchises are worked the year round and won't exist just for the IPL and Champions League.

  • Rajit on March 9, 2010, 12:46 GMT

    What you are saying is right Akash...Infact recently Rahul Dravid also pointed it out in one of the piece that India needs to schedule 5-6 home tests every winter and for all the concerned in scheduling the the domestic as well as international matches that is going to be a real challenge.As regards domestic tournaments,BCCI needs to wake up to make them more crisp and interesting from a spectator perspective...Challenger Trophy is one which must be scrapped first and also domestic T2o (Mushtaq ali trophy)

  • dharma on March 9, 2010, 12:05 GMT

    A player who is good in longer formats might not be good in shorter formats and vice versa. So there should be exactly one tournament in each of the 3 formats at state level and also at zonal level. so a total of 6 tournaments per year. Top performers in state level should be in zonal level and zonal level performance should be criteria for selection into national team. Also to extract best from a player/team, the tournaments should have league format and not knockout format.

  • Ashish Sharma on March 9, 2010, 12:03 GMT

    Hi Aakash,

    Nice article nut i think you forgot to mentioned the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Quarter Finales and Semi finals which are on 13th and 14th March. that means most of the players will be busy in IPL, those matches are not worth for states.

  • Chinmay on March 9, 2010, 9:27 GMT

    I agree with Amit. Scrap everything except Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy and Deodhar Trophy (which should be converted into an extended tournament)

    Maybe rebrand Deodhar Trophy a bit as a knockout ODI tournament involving the 10 IPL teams, 5 zonal teams and one invited team (may be Bangladesh; or a touring A team from one of the other test playing nations) as a "warm up tournament" for IPL.

  • Ashish on March 9, 2010, 9:15 GMT

    I think IPL is curse to Indian cricket,we should raise a voice to stop it immediately and on top of it there is champions league which is very rubbish idea.I dont know why we are thinking of scrapping the original domestic tournament for the commercial foolishness, IPL is planning to increase two teams from next year so people like you who wants to share a pie from these money spining jaugernaut will come and say first to scrap the Ranji and then the Test cricket itself.If we can alter the international calender for the IPL then why not for the Ranji and make it compulsory for all the International players and as currently the deodhar tropy is going on where are our "Stars" the dhoni, Tendulkar,sehwag,Gambhir, Ishant Sharma,Harbhajan Singh??.are they taking rest for participating in IPL.Why you are not raising this point Mr.Chopra??For sake of cricket PLEASE SCRAP IPL and if that is not possible atleast the Tamasha called as Champions League.

  • kny789 on March 9, 2010, 9:14 GMT

    Not to mention the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament being played slap bang in the middle of the IPL - really dilutes the point of having a domestic T20 competition

  • Gowri on March 9, 2010, 7:59 GMT

    merge both the ranji teams and ipl teams. CSK+TamilNadu, MI+Mumbai, RCB+Karnataka and so on. Then we'll have world class teams like NSW

  • Satadru on March 9, 2010, 5:10 GMT

    Since the IPL cannot be done away with under the present circumstances, something else must give, and that's not a bad thing at all. Frankly, even the Duleep Trophy can be jettisoned. If the Ranji Trophy format is revised, getting rid of the first-innings-lead rule (and instituting four innings of 80 overs instead), and requiring all BCCI-contracted players to make themselves available for a minimum number of Ranji games, it would do wonders for Indian cricket.

  • shakir on March 9, 2010, 5:04 GMT

    how about scrapping the ipl. ipl is nothing but an idea stolen from icl. the bcci now is making money on the idea given by tony greig and kapil dev. at the end of the day why icl was banned if bcci really wanted to promote t20 or the local cricketers which would not get oppurtunity to be in the indain team. the main thing is instead of scrapping deodhar trophy or any other domestic tournament scrap the ipl. coz the ipl comes in the way of the schedule of many teams.

  • Amit on March 9, 2010, 3:38 GMT

    Scrap all except Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy & Deodhar Trophy. In tournaments like Duleep Trophy & Deodhar Trophy, we get to see the best of talents as there are teams based on zones instead of states. Performance in Ranji should be criterion for selection in them.

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  • Amit on March 9, 2010, 3:38 GMT

    Scrap all except Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy & Deodhar Trophy. In tournaments like Duleep Trophy & Deodhar Trophy, we get to see the best of talents as there are teams based on zones instead of states. Performance in Ranji should be criterion for selection in them.

  • shakir on March 9, 2010, 5:04 GMT

    how about scrapping the ipl. ipl is nothing but an idea stolen from icl. the bcci now is making money on the idea given by tony greig and kapil dev. at the end of the day why icl was banned if bcci really wanted to promote t20 or the local cricketers which would not get oppurtunity to be in the indain team. the main thing is instead of scrapping deodhar trophy or any other domestic tournament scrap the ipl. coz the ipl comes in the way of the schedule of many teams.

  • Satadru on March 9, 2010, 5:10 GMT

    Since the IPL cannot be done away with under the present circumstances, something else must give, and that's not a bad thing at all. Frankly, even the Duleep Trophy can be jettisoned. If the Ranji Trophy format is revised, getting rid of the first-innings-lead rule (and instituting four innings of 80 overs instead), and requiring all BCCI-contracted players to make themselves available for a minimum number of Ranji games, it would do wonders for Indian cricket.

  • Gowri on March 9, 2010, 7:59 GMT

    merge both the ranji teams and ipl teams. CSK+TamilNadu, MI+Mumbai, RCB+Karnataka and so on. Then we'll have world class teams like NSW

  • kny789 on March 9, 2010, 9:14 GMT

    Not to mention the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament being played slap bang in the middle of the IPL - really dilutes the point of having a domestic T20 competition

  • Ashish on March 9, 2010, 9:15 GMT

    I think IPL is curse to Indian cricket,we should raise a voice to stop it immediately and on top of it there is champions league which is very rubbish idea.I dont know why we are thinking of scrapping the original domestic tournament for the commercial foolishness, IPL is planning to increase two teams from next year so people like you who wants to share a pie from these money spining jaugernaut will come and say first to scrap the Ranji and then the Test cricket itself.If we can alter the international calender for the IPL then why not for the Ranji and make it compulsory for all the International players and as currently the deodhar tropy is going on where are our "Stars" the dhoni, Tendulkar,sehwag,Gambhir, Ishant Sharma,Harbhajan Singh??.are they taking rest for participating in IPL.Why you are not raising this point Mr.Chopra??For sake of cricket PLEASE SCRAP IPL and if that is not possible atleast the Tamasha called as Champions League.

  • Chinmay on March 9, 2010, 9:27 GMT

    I agree with Amit. Scrap everything except Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy and Deodhar Trophy (which should be converted into an extended tournament)

    Maybe rebrand Deodhar Trophy a bit as a knockout ODI tournament involving the 10 IPL teams, 5 zonal teams and one invited team (may be Bangladesh; or a touring A team from one of the other test playing nations) as a "warm up tournament" for IPL.

  • Ashish Sharma on March 9, 2010, 12:03 GMT

    Hi Aakash,

    Nice article nut i think you forgot to mentioned the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Quarter Finales and Semi finals which are on 13th and 14th March. that means most of the players will be busy in IPL, those matches are not worth for states.

  • dharma on March 9, 2010, 12:05 GMT

    A player who is good in longer formats might not be good in shorter formats and vice versa. So there should be exactly one tournament in each of the 3 formats at state level and also at zonal level. so a total of 6 tournaments per year. Top performers in state level should be in zonal level and zonal level performance should be criteria for selection into national team. Also to extract best from a player/team, the tournaments should have league format and not knockout format.

  • Rajit on March 9, 2010, 12:46 GMT

    What you are saying is right Akash...Infact recently Rahul Dravid also pointed it out in one of the piece that India needs to schedule 5-6 home tests every winter and for all the concerned in scheduling the the domestic as well as international matches that is going to be a real challenge.As regards domestic tournaments,BCCI needs to wake up to make them more crisp and interesting from a spectator perspective...Challenger Trophy is one which must be scrapped first and also domestic T2o (Mushtaq ali trophy)