India cricket December 3, 2012

BCCI wants 'prime' home season

ESPNcricinfo staff

The BCCI is looking to establish a "prime season" for the Indian cricket team at home much like it is in England and Australia, thus reducing the team's touring commitments in the winter.

BCCI president N Srinivasan said: "We are starting to look at and define our prime season, and during your prime season you should be playing at home." Speaking exclusively to ESPNcricinfo, Srinivasan said formalising the Indian season would mean a structured calendar of teams touring India. "We want to have possibly one or two visiting teams during our domestic season, starting in September all the way up to March, and we'll see the extent to which we don't tour outside. Given the FTP that is there, we are going to see how we can adjust."

Domestic cricket would also be rescheduled to make home Tests the centre piece of the season, and encourage more international players to take part in the Ranji Trophy. Srinivasan said: "This year we also encouraged our big players and stars to play domestic cricket. This is a change from the last several years." The Ranji format has been changed to three groups of nine teams each, the BCCI had been told by first-class players, that they wanted to play more cricket.

The BCCI's measures over the last few years, Srinivasan said, had sought to improve the quality of cricket particularly of the longer form of the game. "That is where the emphasis is. An uncapped player who has not played for India cannot play in the IPL unless he plays 60% of the Ranji Trophy games. So in more ways than one, we are pushing a player to the longer version."

In a wide-ranging interview, which will appear in full on ESPNcricinfo on Tuesday, Srinivasan spoke about issues concerning Indian cricket, the BCCI's financial power in world cricket, its refusal to accept the mandatory application of the umpire's Decision Review System (DRS), and the IPL's growing influence on players all over the world and the longer form of the game.

Srinivasan denied that the BCCI had taken an 'obstructionist' approach to the DRS. "We have not taken an obstructionist policy. We don't believe in it, so after discussion members have agreed it should be bilateral. I don't want to dictate to other people… our position has been clear from start. We don't believe the technology is good enough."

He said the ICC's statement that the DRS technology had "improved further" was in a way "acceptance that it was not good enough then" referring to the India tour of England last year. "But it was touted as being good at that point in time. Our problem is that when they say it is all right, then they say it'll get better tomorrow, or an improved version now. So we concede the fact that there was less than adequate perfection. Which is our point, if you want to use technology it must be perfect."

Srinivasan also said that restricting the DRS to two referrals was in some ways a contradiction in itself. "If you don't have faith in the umpire, which itself is a contradiction as in cricket the umpire's verdict is final, if a player shows dissent you fine him. But now you're saying that I have two attempts to question your decision. So the reconciliation between that is difficult. So if you take it to the end point of it, then you have two lampposts with coloured lights red, yellow and green, you don't need an umpire at all, as you refer every decision, so let an automatic reply come from there after a review and you say red or green."

So if you take it to the end point of it, then you have two lampposts with coloured lights red, yellow and green, you don't need an umpire at all, as you refer every decision, so let an automatic reply come from there after a review and you say red or green
The BCCI continues to resist the DRS

India's unwillingness to use the DRS means that there are two officiating systems at work in world cricket, to which Srinivasan said: "It doesn't bother me at all because, apart from all this, there is a cost to DRS and there are only one or two people involved. It's a monopoly-area situation, which I am not going in to here. It doesn't bother me if two other countries use DRS, they are happy, that's okay."

The ICC he said had the right to use DRS in its own events, but the BCCI was very clear in its stand on its usage in any bilateral series featuring India. "We are clear in our mind, but I hope, slowly, people will see our point of view."

The IPL, the BCCI's "showcase event" did not, he said, have a negative bearing on international cricket and the BCCI's refusal to ask for a window for the event, was based on the acceptance of the overseas players' packed international calendars. "The IPL management, the BCCI, franchise owners are aware that all the players won't be available all the time, and we've sort of settled down with that."

The IPL he said was not putting "a strain" on other boards. The event's popularity amongst overseas players were a reflection that, "it's a free world. People and players make their choices and we can't compel a person… I don't think that it is all-consuming." While the IPL attracts cricketers from all over the world, he said, "there are only so many players who can play in the IPL, because we have a cap on the number of players in the team. And from what I have seen, players may not be happy to sit out as we have a cap on foreign players. So squad size and the number of franchises have a limiting effect."

The BCCI he said was aware that there was "no real window" available on the international calendar for the IPL. "The BCCI has recognised that today you have ten Full Members, they play each other home and away once in four years. The number of ICC events has increased from ten years ago, so there's a lot of clutter. So the BCCI accepts the fact that there is no real window and that whoever is available plays."

The BCCI's reputation as a bully on the ICC board he said, was "not fair" - and denied that other boards would be wary of going against the BCCI's wishes. "That is not a fact. In the ICC all members are sovereign. The ten full members are sovereign."

Despite India's 8-0 defeats in England and Australia, Srinivasan said it was not fair to say that India got exposed when travelling abroad. "It's not that we get exposed when we go abroad. Every country is used to its own conditions, whether it is England, South Africa, Australia, so they tend to play better in home conditions, which is what we also do."

He said the media in the other teams did not end up "berating their players for not doing well [abroad]" and that there had to be an acceptance and recognition of the "advantage of home conditions… So I don't think we should run down our players by saying we did not do well abroad. Other teams don't do well when they come to India. In the past, we have had teams that have done well both here and abroad, when players were possibly younger."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Naresh on December 6, 2012, 23:43 GMT

    BCCI, INDIAN TEAM,CAPTAIN,COACH,SELECTORS are responsible for India's PATHETIC DISPLAY in the third test versus England and recent form of the team.

  • Kuldeep on December 6, 2012, 2:54 GMT

    Make the domestic season more meaningful, less teams and less trophies. There are so many teams that it is hard to remember even for diehard fans. Why not have the Ranji Trophy based on Zone basis only? North, South, West and East Zone, sound good to me and easy to follow for players. You need to replicate the Test match standard at your domestic level so the players can be identified. Take the mediocrity out the system; some of the standard players playing these matches is not first class so why call it first class? Some of these players would not even make grade cricket in Australia, England or South Africa let alone representing state team.

  • Shahid on December 6, 2012, 0:30 GMT

    Can ICC do the same to BCCI what IOC has done to Indian Olympic Committee? Their stunt on DRS is so much over the top -- unbelievable. Arrogance don't last.

  • Dummy4 on December 5, 2012, 22:36 GMT

    Its high time for BCCI to introduce some technology in domestic cricket, a review system is not a bad idea at all, yes one can debate over the no. of review a team can ask. I think even umpires must have the right to use hawk eye and hot spot when they are not 100 % sure, the aim should be to assist & improve umpiring not to humiliate someone.....

  • Deepak on December 5, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    2 GAMES left in the world that refuse to use technology, even when it helps the game improve... Indian Cricket and Soccer... what a shame!

  • Arun on December 5, 2012, 16:46 GMT

    Dont understand why our own Indian people are against BCCI...first of all when ECB and CA use to rule the cricket world we were not even given a say about these things.....when the players come to play to India look at the welcome they get and whn we go to their countries look at the respect we get.... A similar thing like DRS was invented by an Indian guy but ICC rejected it, now why should we be paying for DRS and Hawkeye when they dont let an Indian invention in cricket....long live BCCI and its power in cricket

  • Dummy4 on December 5, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    @frkislam: All other TV technologies improves decision making of the umpires. They are used at the discretion of umpires. But, DRS is used by players to challenge umpires, and that too only twice in unsuccessful reviews : No logic though. If all decisions are allowed to challenge, then there is no need for an umpire. My personal opinion is that, DRS can be used only at the umpires discretion.

  • Dummy4 on December 5, 2012, 14:28 GMT

    Having IPL every year is like being forced into a circus again and again. I wish IPL was held biennially and not annually. Because its too damn long and way too much endure every year. People are more interested in watching more series and tri-series rather than being forced on to watch the same damn thing every year.

  • Farook on December 5, 2012, 12:50 GMT

    The BCCI's position on DRS is illogical in the extreme. First of all, let's remember that television is a two-dimensional representation of a 3D world and so is inherently not "perfect". Should we therefore not use TV? With regard to other technologies used in cricket (stump cam, run-out reviews), are these perfect? How often have we seen batsmen given not-out because the intervals between two camera frames have not allowed for a conclusive determination of whether the bat was over the line when the bails were being lifted? And what about all those slow motion shots which fail to prove whether a catch was cleanly claimed or not? None of these technologies are perfect but nonetheless they improve decision making. If the BCCI can accept these, why not DRS?

  • Krishnan on December 5, 2012, 11:21 GMT

    And still, after all this debate they can't come up with a more cogent explanation of the DRS position. temporarily, I do think that BCCI's opposition is helping improve the DRS, but it wont in the long term if the supplier exits cricket! This is not the right way to drive your supplier to improve quality if that's what he's concerned about. The right way is to first offer a contract, then measure quality quantitatively and impose cash or other penalties for failing to meet targets. Equally ECB's and in general UK's unquestioning support of these technologies clearly has a lot to do about the origin of the companies peddling them. Some of this tech is patent protected and it's hard for a competitor to get into the market. So what he says about monopoly situation (and doesnt say about lobbying) should concern everyone. Even so, the BCCIs methods are ham handed to say the least & its very surprising Srinivasan runs a successful big business himself.

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