'Changes will make domestic cricket more competitive'
Former India captain Anil Kumble, who was a special invitee to the BCCI technical committee meeting out of which several significant changes to the Indian domestic structure emerged, has said that the rearrangement of 27 Ranji teams into three groups would improve the competition between the teams.
"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 said in an interview on 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."
The technical committee meeting, headed by former India captain Sourav Ganguly, also recommended changes to the points system, with six points for an outright win as against five previously. Kumble said that the reasoning for the suggestion was to encourage teams to earn an extra point - and three more than they would for just gaining the first-innings' lead - by going for an outright win.
One of the key recommendations made by committee was to allow the team to bowl one player for 12 overs in limited-overs games, a decision based on a suggestion from Kumble.
"Yes, I suggested to the technical committee that one bowler should be allowed to bowl 12 overs in a 50-over game. It will affect the way they plan and analyse, and will make an impact on the batting team, be it while chasing targets or setting them up."
Kumble mentioned that the topic of uncovered pitches, to aid fast bowlers in domestic matches, was also discussed but wasn't accepted. "The simple reason was that the Ranji Trophy is played during winter in India, and the weather will intervene in some of the centres in the north, east and central zones. It would not be feasible to play on uncovered pitches as there are chances we won't even get a proper match."
However, to ensure a better quality of pitches for all domestic matches, the cricket pitches committee will now comprise ten members - instead of the present five - to ensure the committee is more effective.
Kumble also said that discussions with cricketers and coaches were important before arriving at the recommendations, and that he is hopeful that the changes would benefit Indian cricket.