October 1, 2011

Indian domestic cricket

What's the point of Indian domestic tournaments?

Nikita Bastian

As the Indian domestic season kicks off with the Irani Cup in Jaipur, Deepak Narayanan, writing in the Mumbai Mirror, says the BCCI – obsessed as it is by its new and glitzy money spinning leagues – needs to decide what purpose tournaments such as the Ranji and Duleep Trophy serve.

In its current form, it’s no breeding ground for international cricketers. The pitches – browner than brown, flatter than flat – turn disciples of speed into devotees of line, length and energy conservation; they nurture flat-track bullies. The format, which encourages teams to play for draws, has outlived its utility in a result-oriented world. And with the IPL propelling players into the limelight and, in many cases, into national colours, there’s no incentive anymore for young cricketers to go through the grind, to make 48-hour train journeys and play in empty stadiums. The charm of it all has worn off.

Amit Gupta, writing in the same paper, says the Irani Cup, once a playground for the big boys, has been reduced to a farce in the haze of cricketainment.

The Irani Cup, played between last season’s Ranji trophy Champion Rajasthan and Rest of India [RoI], which gets under way today is a testimony to that [the tournament's a farce]. As the RoI sauntered onto the practice arena, the lack of interest or rather discipline was evident in the kit that the Parthiv Patel-led side wore. Players who had played for India were in their India jerseys, some wore their state association colours while the others wore random t-shirts. Imagine an IPL team without their team colours. Un-professionalism on part of players or careless attitude from the Indian board?

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Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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