India news June 12, 2012

Three groups for Ranji Trophy, five-day knockouts

ESPNcricinfo staff

The BCCI's technical committee has recommended that structural changes be made to the Ranji Trophy, India's premier first-class tournament, by doing away with the existing Elite and Plate divisions and rearranging the 27 teams into three groups of nine each.

The committee's other recommendations for domestic cricket include increasing the points for outright wins in the Ranji Trophy, allowing Ranji knockout games to go into a sixth day to produce a result, allowing bowlers two bouncers per over in one-day cricket and one bowler 12 overs.

The existing Ranji Trophy format, which replaced the zonal system in 2002-03, has teams divided into Elite and Plate League, and into two more sub-groups. Six teams from Elite and two from Plate make it to the quarter-finals. If the BCCI's working committee ratifies the recommendations, the tournament will have three groups. The BCCI is yet to finalise the exact criterion for division, but it is expected that group A will be the strongest and C the weakest. This will ensure every team gets eight matches at least; presently eight teams play seven league matches each, seven teams play six each and the remaining 12 get five each.

Three teams each from A and B, and two from C, will make it to the quarter-finals. The quarters and semi-finals, four-day matches at present, will be played over five days, and if a first-innings lead has not been achieved by then, they will go into a sixth day. If a first-innings lead has not been established by the sixth, the winner will be decided by a coin toss.

The committee also made recommendations to incentivise outright wins in league matches. If they are ratified, outright wins will be worth six points as opposed to five. The bonus point, which accrues on ten-wicket or innings victories, will remain.

Another important recommendation is for bowlers to be allowed two bouncers an over and for one bowler to have a 12-over quota in one-day matches. The field restrictions, though, won't follow the changes recommended by the ICC in international cricket.

India's domestic calendar was shuffled as well. The Irani Cup is likely to be played at the end of the season, and the Duleep Trophy at the start. There could be two Irani Cup matches this season as a result: Rajasthan (2011-12 champions) v Rest of India, and this season's champion v Rest of India. The Challenger Trophy has also been restructured. One of its three teams could be the winner of India's domestic one-day competition, the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Sourav Ganguly, the head of BCCI's technical committee, said there would also be an emphasis on producing good quality pitches. Anil Kumble, who was a special invitee to the meeting, said these changes would provide better structure to the Ranji Trophy.

"Besides giving each team an equal number of matches home and away, this format brings in more competition as teams will have an equal chance of making it to the top two of their respective groups," Kumble told the BCCI's website. "We believe the home and away format gives that incentive for the state associations to organise four home matches in the centres they want. As the president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association it gives me the opportunity to take the game outside of Bangalore and develop it in the smaller centres."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Arun on June 15, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    Having 3 teams from group B & 2 teams from group C play in the quarterfinals can cause a major embarrasment. Suppose either of the teams from group C or team no 3 from group B WINS the Ranji Trophy ! Then the next year you will have a situation that the winner of the Ranji Trophy is playing in group B !!! I suggest we have only 4 teams play the semifinals : the top 3 from group A plus the top team from group B

  • Dummy4 on June 14, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    As usual reforms follow the one step forward two step backward pattern. Replacing Elite and Plate with ABC is old wine in new bottle especially when they haven't spelt out how the divisions will happen. It is widely suspected that the top 8 will be in A group. Nothing can be worse than such a division. Instead they should follow Tennis and other sports and create chances for the top two teams to clash in the final. Two bouncers per over and 12 overs for one bowler is of marginal benefit when field restrictions do not change. Between five and six there is no big difference and so the incentivising the outright win is another half hearted attempt at pushing for results. What they have failed to bring in is most disappointing. Sporting pitches and uncovered pitches. Kumble and Ganguly have been successful in winning beyond the subcontinent and know what it takes to do that. And yet were not willing to push for the one big change. Can India afford such half way measures?

  • Dummy4 on June 14, 2012, 13:46 GMT

    Everything is good. but India expecting next generation for Indian cricket; they scored too much runs in India, so many centuries and fifties; but now in West Indies they are drinking too much water. At least one fifty they can't, why???? . So what Indian board will do for that one. May be they will again make some spin pitches and will continue same like this.

  • Dummy4 on June 14, 2012, 7:05 GMT

    12 over Bowling is not a good optn, I think they could have done one thing that divide the teams in pool of 12 and 15, the bottom 12 and top 15, top 15 should play 4 day games among them and by doing so all of them will get 14 games each , and the bottom 12 should play 11 games each in 3 day games,then top 3 of the top 15 and the 1st team of bottom 12 should go to the semifinals.

    relegation of botton 2 teams of division 1 and promotion of top 2 teams should be there .

  • Channagiri on June 13, 2012, 18:33 GMT

    The existing format which provides enough opportunity for all teams should not be meddled with as the earlier BCCI Technical Committee headed by SM Gavaskar had suggested the existing format after careful scrutiny and study. Changes should not be brought in just for changes sake. The idea of having two Irani Trophy matches is also not a sound proposition as the Irani Trophy by any such change will lose its significance. What really needed is that BCCI should ensure that the Ranji Trophy matches are not interrupted by Tests/ODIs at home or abroad and like IPL matches, a set schedule without any interruption should be devised for the RT matches. Also the BCCI should make it obligatory on the part of all the Test/ODI players to make themselves available for this prestigious tournament. C Keshava Murthy, Bangalore

  • Mudassar on June 13, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    More needs to be done to get the crowds in stadiums. More ODI's needs to be included in domestic season.

  • SWAMINATHAN on June 13, 2012, 8:09 GMT

    Less teams South : TN, Karnataka, Kerala + Goa, AP+ Hyd West: Gujarat, Rajasthan, Mumbai, Maharashtra + Vidharbha Central: MP, UP, Services, Railways North: Punjab + HP + J&K, Haryana + Delhi, East: Jharkhand, Bengal, Assam, Tripura.

    Newer teams must be merged with existing teams, for example, Puducherry with TN, Bihar with Jharkhand, UK with the (Punjab+HP +J&K) team, Chhatissgarh with MP, Sikkim with Bengal. Both the service teams could combine to form Central Services ... the other North-East teams could play as North-East India team. With this the total number of teams remains 18.

  • Dummy4 on June 13, 2012, 7:28 GMT

    I personally liked the statement made by Kumble that game should be taken to smaller venues which would make more talent unearth and help the game. Where as money making by getting spectators is concern than we have IPL. Ranji is specially for creating pool of players for test matches at national level. Also I liked the concept of having winners of 50 ovr tournament as one team in challengers trophy. What i didnt like is the fact of bowling 12 overs in One day and also the fact that fieding restriction are still the same and not as per ICC changes. One thing we must do is get the rules allinged up with ICC so our players are in the same mindset at national and international level. In all good changes by Dada and Jumbo.. Cheers

  • Sundarraman on June 13, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    Winner to be decided by a coin toss after playing for 6 days is a real bad one!

  • Dummy4 on June 13, 2012, 6:22 GMT

    The concept of one team per zone or one team per state would be good when all the teams and players are equally capable. Zones such as the west zone and states such as Mumbai produce more good cricketers than say Assam or Kerala. So a player who does not get a chance to play for Mumbai may be good enough to play for Kerala or Assam. The current league system should provide for many teams from a state such as Mumbai A, Mumbai B, Mumbai C etc., Mumbai A based on the performance could be placed in group A, Mumbai C could be in group C. In addition to this one may enforce one team from each zone state to play compulsarily in the knock out stages. This way we would not be ignoring good players who do not get a chance to play for Mumbai in favor of lesser players who get a chance to play in the Ranji in lieu of playing for a lesser team such as Assam , Goa or Kerala.

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