India domestic news February 14, 2012

Ranji games to be played at neutral venues

ESPNcricinfo staff

All Ranji Trophy matches from the 2012-13 season onwards will be played at neutral venues, the BCCI has decided. The decision, taken at the board's working committee meeting in Chennai on Monday, will reduce home-team advantage in the Ranji Trophy by denying teams the opportunity to prepare pitches that suit their strengths.

After the meeting, BCCI president N Srinivasan said there was no need yet for an inquiry into the Indian team's poor form away from home. However, the board has taken some steps to develop cricket within the country, with the use of neutral venues for Ranji matches the biggest change.

The BCCI had introduced neutral venues for Ranji knockout matches in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons but the move was opposed by some senior players. Sanjay Bangar, an 18-year-old veteran of the Ranji circuit, said neutral venues would give domestic players experience in varied conditions.

"It is a good move," Bangar said. "It will ensure proper facilities for players from teams which can't provide them at the moment. Also, it will give players the experience of playing in varied conditions. Right now, a Mumbai player plays half of his matches in Mumbai. So he is used to playing only in those conditions.

It will also lead to better pitches. There is a lot of pressure on home associations to prepare pitches that suit the home team. It will involve logistical issues, but it is a risk worth taking."

Narendra Hirwani, the national selector (Central Zone) and former India legspinner, said having neutral venues would allow zonal curators more control. "Yes, it will be logistically more difficult but you have to endure some pain if you want to improve the game in the country," he said. "It is practically not possible for zonal curators to oversee pitch preparation at so many home venues. Even if they go to all the venues, it is only for a few days.

"We should ideally take this a step further and improve the standard of our practice pitches. They are of such a standard usually that a spinner does not have to make any effort to turn the ball on them. He is then found out in the actual game."

The board has also announced plans for a new academy in Bangalore, the location of the National Cricket Academy. "The process is on and the budget is in the range of Rs 100 crore," Srinivasan said. There will also be India A and Under-19 tours of the West Indies, England, Australia and South Africa over the next few years. "It will start with the India A team touring West Indies in June," Srinivasan said.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • M Vivek on February 15, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    Few reactions here are baffling me. The spectators have never flocked for home matches anyway so why not try neutral venue and hope better pitches are produced.

  • Vamsee on February 15, 2012, 4:13 GMT

    Pretty soon, we will have all the matches being played at Chepauk (surely they will make an exception for TN team) ! Well done Mr Srinivasan.

  • Dummy4 on February 15, 2012, 0:14 GMT

    Who will watch the matches,if any? why not bring in neautral pitch Curators?same home ground,same home support,but neautral Curators? Now BCCI is sucking with it,get a life

  • Anit on February 14, 2012, 22:46 GMT

    Once again Srinivasan has shown ignorance in understanding the core issues: poor player grooming program (coaching and training) for young talents starting at 10 plus age, improper scheduling of overseas tours, long IPL season, and a lack of variety in domestic tracks. Playing Ranji matches at neutral avenues do not solve any issue. It will only kill Ranji quickly by spectators loosing interest. You need fast tracks to groom players to handle pace and bounce day in and out.

  • Sunil on February 14, 2012, 20:22 GMT

    One of the worst decisions. I agree with "squarepeg", now that there is no home team, there won't be anyone to watch. Is that the way you want to promote the game & encourage the players. Why not give the picth preparation responsibility to indepedent body instead of independent venue. If Assam is playing Orissa is Chennai, who would come to watch? In Assam or Orissa the may be a few spectators.

  • Moses on February 14, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    Ridiculous. Instead of addressing the problem of bad pitches by penalising the home team, BCCI jokers have now ensured that thr is no hope of Ranji trophy ever attracting fans to the stadium.

  • M Vivek on February 14, 2012, 15:14 GMT

    This shows what happens when people like N.Srinivasan ,who have knowledge of cricket becomes president.

  • Dummy4 on February 14, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    Right move finally. Also make it mandatory for the curator to prepare sporting wickets, that' will be an icing on the cake.

  • Dummy4 on February 14, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    We need "neutral" pitch curators who don't listen to home team captain or local associations. Now rich and influential associations can still influence curators of neutral venues. Pitch prepartion should be left a committee of experts and they should prepare variety of pitches based on the weather, soil and city.

  • Dummy4 on February 14, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    A very good initiative - the correction happens at the grassroot level. It is fair to assume that a lot of dead/ too lively/ dangerous pitches are result of push for home advantage. It will also put pressure on state teams to have more balanced team configuration and hence will give a fair chance to pacers/ spinners and batsman who can handle fast bowling well! Alas something thoughtful from the administrators.

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