Pringle calls for Ranji points revamp
After a batsmen-dominated Ranji Trophy round that had as many as 34 centuries, Meyrick Pringle, the Rajasthan coach, has called for additional points to be awarded for runs scored and wickets taken, irrespective of the match's result.
While some of the changes introduced to the Ranjis this season have come in for praise, including the introduction of three tiers, the points system remains almost untouched. Though the BCCI has introduced an additional point for an outright victory in order to encourage the teams to go for an outright victory, it seems to have had little impact on the teams' attitude as nine of the 12 second-round league games ended in draws.
Pringle, the former South Africa bowler who has been in charge of defending champions Rajasthan this year, wanted the BCCI to follow the example of the English or the South African domestic competitions.
"I just think overall, the format in India should change to what the other countries follow, where you go on first-innings points - batting and bowling," Pringle told ESPNcricinfo on the eve of Rajasthan's match against Madhya Pradesh.
Pringle was appointed as the bowling coach last season but has been the acting head coach since Chandrakant Pandit resigned in September after accepting the position of the national junior selection panel's head just before the start of the season.
"Your first batting point is 100 or 150 and every 50 runs thereafter earn you another point. Once you score 450, you don't get batting points after that," Pringle said. "Same with the bowling, the first, third and fifth and so on. That's the way, I think, it should be played."
While the BCCI has refrained from re-introducing points for runs scored and wickets taken, something that was in place in the late '80s, countries like England and South Africa have successfully implemented it. In England, for instance, a team that scores 200 runs in the first innings gets one point, and for every 50 runs thereafter they earn a point till a maximum of 400 runs. Similarly, at least three wickets in the first innings earn the bowling side a point. And the batting and bowling points are added to the overall points tally irrespective of the result.
In India, on the other hand, the first-innings lead earns a team three points while an outright victory gets them six, unless they win by an innings or 10 wickets, which fetches them seven points. However, the fact that bowling and batting points are missing from the system often tends to allow the teams to settle for a result based on the first innings. Or, as was the case during Maharashtra's Group B game against Uttar Pradesh in Pune last week, the teams are reluctant to even try for the first-innings lead.
Pringle also hoped to see bigger crowds in Ranji matches. Rajasthan have been forced to host their home games at an alternate venue in Jaipur instead of at the city's main cricket venue, the Sawai Man Singh Stadium, primarily due to the political turmoil in the Rajasthan Cricket Association.
"We've won the Ranji Trophy two years in a row and it's a huge achievement for everyone - the RCA, the players and everyone in Rajasthan cricket," Pringle said. "We hope that we can get more spectators and we hope that the RCA sorts out the political side of the SMS Stadium. We would love to play there. We know that every game we play here, we win and we can open the gates of the stadium, we will be able to showcase our talent to the people of Rajasthan more frequently."
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo