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Teams demand less gruelling Ranji schedule

Amol Karhadkar

March 5, 2013

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Mumbai celebrate after sealing their 40th Ranji triumph, Mumbai v Saurashtra, Ranji Trophy, final, 3rd day, January 28, 2013
One of the suggestions put forth at the conclave was for a less gruelling Ranji Trophy schedule © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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The captains and coaches of all the domestic teams in India were unanimous in demanding more time between Ranji Trophy matches during the annual captains and coaches' conclave that was held on Tuesday in Mumbai. This was one of the many suggestions put forth at the conclave that was also attended by technical committee chairman Anil Kumble, BCCI president N Srinivasan, secretary Sanjay Jagdale and Ratnakar Shetty, general manager, cricket development.

The 79th edition of the Ranji Trophy was played by 27 teams that were divided into three groups of nine teams each. The number of matches played was also more than previous seasons. In about two months, every team played eight games and, except for a week-long break at some stage, teams often played four-day games with a break of only three days in between. The scheduling not only affected the fitness of players but also resulted in some teams opting for a first-innings lead instead of trying to gain an outright victory.

For the BCCI, scheduling remains a tricky aspect, given that a plethora of domestic tournaments are played in a limited time frame. However, Kumble assured teams that their concerns would be addressed.

One of the options the technical committee and the fixtures committee may explore is to introduce a four-day gap between matches at least in the latter half of the league stage. "We could have some matches played after a gap of three days, while others could have a four-day break in between. We will have to see how it works," Kumble told reporters after the two-hour meeting.

Former India left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi, who has been coaching the Hyderabad team for the last two seasons, endorsed Kumble's suggestion.

"Ideally, every team would want at least a break of four days before every game but since it's practically difficult to implement, it would help a lot if the teams got longer breaks in the latter half of the season," Joshi said. "The fatigue starts creeping in as the tournament progresses. That is where the additional break can be helpful."

While Bengal coach WV Raman suggested that both captains and managers should be asked to submit their assessment of the wicket after every match, a section of coaches felt the teams needed extra motivation to go for an outright victory rather than settling for drab draws after attaining the first innings lead. "We have seen several instances of teams opting against enforcing a follow-on, despite gaining a big first-innings lead, and opting to bat on instead. If an additional point is rewarded for enforcing the follow-on, it could make such games more interesting," Joshi said.

Another suggestion, which was backed by almost everyone present at the meeting, was to stage the Ranji Trophy knock-out games at neutral venues.

"There was a suggestion and the technical committee will discuss the issue during its meeting," Kumble said.

Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni suggested that the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the national limited-overs championship, also be staged in a format similar to the Ranji Trophy. While the Ranji Trophy is played in a three-tier league stage followed by knock-outs, the Vijay Hazare Trophy starts with a zonal league that covers five regions. The two top teams from each zone then progress to the national knock-outs.

"It pits the same teams against each other in the preliminary stage, like the old Ranji Trophy format," Kulkarni said.

The suggestion, however, is unlikely to be implemented. "It will be a logistical nightmare," Kumble said.

Some of the teams raised concerns over umpiring standards. The major concerns centred around the decision-making abilities of umpires and uniformity in judging the quality of light during matches. "Everyone went by their own experiences and made their suggestions. The teams who were affected expressed their concerns. But the overall standards of umpiring have improved," Kumble said.

The suggestions will now be discussed in detail by the technical committee which could meet in the third week of March, according to Kumble.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (March 7, 2013, 6:02 GMT)

In addition to my previous comment, I also suggest not to include retired international players in the domestic competition since this place could be given to another aspiring player who could make use of this opportunity to show his credentials. So once retired let them stay from domestic matches as well.

Posted by   on (March 7, 2013, 5:59 GMT)

For all domestic matches including Ranji Trophy, the BCCI should prepare sporting pitches so that it is not only the batsmen friendly, the bowlers also will get equal opportunity to perform. Also, if possible they should prepare pitches ideal for seam and bounce so that our top order domestic batsmen will get an opportunity to play raising deliveries and will get used to it so that when they come to the International arena, they could handle the raising deliveries and seam bowling better. The BCCI should look for long term solution instead of year by year solutions.

I am not in favor of supporting neutral venues since already for domestic games hardly any spectator watching the game even though they play in their home ground. If we play in neutral venues then this domestic competitions will lose all the interest. Let the home team gets the favor of playing at home to keep the domestic cricket alive.

Posted by cricketanand12 on (March 6, 2013, 8:21 GMT)

these tournaments are useless,no one gets selected perofroming well in these tournaments.However,someone lucky ones get chance to play for national side,some get ipl contracts but they never play because we indians are too conservative and stick to our past.We dont try too mant things,can anyone in mi dare to drop harbhajan,can dd drop viru,can sunrisers drop sharma,dhawan--never.Wheter they dont perform in a single match,they play because they played well in earlier tournaments,ganpathy vignesh a world class allrounder never played for csk.Do anyone of you know atul sharma,bowls at 100 mph+ always,he trains in south africa,was in rr squad,never played a single match.

Posted by QingdaoXI on (March 6, 2013, 7:22 GMT)

As i mention before this conclave, i will strongly urge BCCI to reduce the number of Ranji teams to 7 and Duleep trophy 4 with home and away basis (No knock-outs & all 5 day games), in which only quality player will be able to maintain the spot in the team. If number of teams will reduce, the averages of batsmen will to fall down & we will really come to know who are there for future as the Bowling attack will become more stronger. Any quality player who is fit throughout the season will get a chance to play 12 Ranji, 6 Duleep Trophy Fixture as well as One Irani trophy game, if he qualifies there. It will give our players more number of matches against quality opposition. For Oneday Tournaments and T-20's only single round with top 2 teams playing final and Challenger trophy.So a player can still play 9-11 matches in both ODIs and T-20 format in one season. Out of 365 days, 80-85 days of first class, 11-14 days of ODI & T-20. Total: 100-130 days of domestic cricket for quality player.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2013, 3:37 GMT)

Reduce follow-on criteria to 150 (or is it already 150?) and bring on compulsory follow-on rule.. You may also look into awarding more points to the 1st batting team if they enforce follow-on. May i also suggest rest days in between? There are no TV commitments, having the rest day greatly reduces stress on the bowlers esp if follow-on is enforced.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2013, 22:28 GMT)

Scrap Duleep Trophy, Irani Trophy and Deodhar Trophy. As a UP supporter, I really want UP to win, but I am hardly bothered about Central Zone. Have 1 first class format - Ranji, 1 Fifty Over Competition - Vijay Hazare; and one T20 Format - Syed Trophy (obviously keep IPL). In addition to this merge the BCCI Corporate Trophy and the Challenger by making it a franchise tournament - like IPL, but on a smaller scale, and only for Indians. Also, if possible, have a small Franchise First Class trophy, where only the top 40-50 players of the season play, with the final being played on foreign soil.

Posted by CricketMaan on (March 5, 2013, 17:07 GMT)

Vijay Hazare and Syed trophy for T20 is the most useless competition. I dont think ODI and T20 players are anymore selected based on these domestic performances, its been the IPL that has been the selection base. More over look where all Vijay Hazare trophy is played, in school, university, club grounds, what use does it provide? IPL get better facilities compared to these 2 domestic tournaments, better scrap them.

Posted by baghels.a on (March 5, 2013, 13:23 GMT)

I just looked at the Vijay Hazare fixture list and i find it wierd that a state team gets to play only 4 or 5 matches at the most and even less if some matches gets rained out.That is at odds with our national team who play 25 to 30 ODI'S every year on an average.BCCI should look at making league matches double leg affairs so every team gets at least 10 matches before knockout stages, BCCI got to market Vijay Hazare trophy better and meaningful.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (March 5, 2013, 13:23 GMT)

They forgot the most important thing - The habit of winning by first innings lead needs to be discouraged.

Posted by cricketanand12 on (March 5, 2013, 13:22 GMT)

It is needed that our domestic cricket system becomes autonomous like IITs and IIMs in our country and top 30 new talents must be unearthed and they must be given proper diet ,gym coaching ,therapy to make them physically,mentally and techniqually stronger.Especially to fast bowlers,why can't they bowl@ 150kph+,most of the talents not get proper diet and young age so u-13 to u-19 players must be given proper guidance and diet.I have seen 15 year boys hitting sixes not less than 130-135 ms. to fast and even slow bowlers an thet are technically much sounder that million dollar babies jadeja and maxwell.Where is karun nair,chirag jani?They made runs @ quick rate and hit sixes,but they are nowhere and we are still carrying those like ishant,sreesanth,dinda,jadeja.

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