Ranji Trophy 2013-14, quarterfinals January 7, 2014

'Players could have left for NZ after quarterfinals' - Dravid

ESPNcricinfo staff

Rahul Dravid: "If I was Bhuvneshwar Kumar I would definitely have wanted to play"

Rahul Dravid has said that the BCCI could have allowed the India ODI players who are part of teams in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals to leave for the New Zealand tour a day or two after their team-mates.

Suresh Raina, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (both UP), Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane (both Mumbai), Mohammed Shami (Bengal) and Stuart Binny (Karnataka) will leave for New Zealand with the rest of the India squad on January 12, and miss their Ranji quarterfinals, which are scheduled from January 8 to 12. The first ODI, in Napier, is on January 19.

"I think there was a good opportunity to [let the six players play the quarterfinals], because even after the 12th, there are almost seven days before the first one-day match starts on the 19th," Dravid told ESPNcricinfo. "I guess there was a good opportunity to do that, and it's only six players, so maybe these six players could have left a day or two late … I'm sure the Ranji Trophy teams and the coaches would have been very happy to have some of these boys play."

Venkatesh Prasad, the UP coach, had criticised the BCCI's decision, and had specifically taken the case of Bhuvneshwar, whose last competitive match was the first ODI in South Africa on December 5, more than a month ago. Asked to assess the case on a player-by-player basis, Dravid said Bhuvneshwar could have definitely done with match practice.

"If I was Bhuvneshwar Kumar I would definitely have wanted to play, because he's not played a lot of match cricket," Dravid said. "He's probably bowled a lot in the nets over the last month, month-and-a-half, but he hasn't played a lot of cricket, so I would have really been chomping on the bit to have a game.

"From other people's perspective, someone like a Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane, who've been through a tough Test series, they might have been the ones wanting a bit of a break, but they're both probably young kids and from their perspective would have probably wanted to see Mumbai in the semifinals as well. It'll be interesting to see what the players' perspective on this would have been, but I would think, in my past experience, if there is such a big gap in between the last game and the start of the tour, most guys actually don't mind playing the game."

Having the six India players playing the quarterfinals, Dravid added, would have raised the profile of the Ranji Trophy.

"You have a Rohit Sharma, an Ajinkya Rahane playing for Mumbai, there's no doubt that a lot more people suddenly get tuned to the game, they watch the game, if it's live on TV and you're switching the channels and you see a Sharma batting, you're probably going to hang around there and watch it, a little bit more, so it does raise the profile of the competition, it does tell you that the competition is extremely serious and we value it," he said. "I'm not saying that the BCCI doesn't value it, I think they do value the Ranji Trophy, I've seen some really good things happen with the Ranji Trophy, but I'm just saying that there was an opportunity here to maybe let these guys play some cricket and there were only the six of them."

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  • Dummy4 on January 14, 2014, 5:11 GMT

    This is where some one have to think before they judge on when to leave for international duties. last time i remember Karnataka take on Mumbai in 2008 finals and Dravid was not allowed to play (even after his request to join the team in 2 days) coz there was a Bangaladesh tour. Someone who have planned the tour, should clearly understand the schedule of the domestic cricket and avoid these circumstances.

  • Anand on January 8, 2014, 17:10 GMT

    Ashik Sali - it is easy to make a comment like you as well against someone like Dravid who puts much thought into whatever he saysl. Did you even read the full article? What Dravid says makes a lot of sense. In the case of Bhuvi at least - it is a no-brainer that he should have played Ranji to get match-fit before getting acclimatized to NZ condition. I do agree that if players in Rohit want a break after the test series, that is a different issue. I wonder how the players themselves feel about it - or would they be too wary to voice what they think in case it gets misconstrued to be anti-BCCI!

  • Ribhav on January 8, 2014, 13:48 GMT

    If anyone remembers the article published on Cricinfo when the South Africa series was curtailed, at that time, one of the reasons given for not playing a new Years test match was that the players would like to participate in the Ranji Trophy quarter finals. http://www.espncricinfo.com/south-africa-v-india-2013-14/content/story/683885.html.

    And now when the time comes for these players to play in the Ranji trophy, what does the BCCI do, make sure that the same players fly out on the last day of the quarterfinal matches ensuring they cannot participate in the same. Only BCCI folks know what they are upto

  • Ganesh on January 8, 2014, 12:57 GMT

    My opinion is it is good that national players are given rest, because that will give way to six talented youngsters to showcause their skills.

  • Ashok on January 8, 2014, 6:38 GMT

    Its an argument that cuts both ways. Playing in India may not have helped the players themselves, considering they're going to be handling completely different conditions in New Zealand soon. But, it could just as well be argued that it would have helped them get some much needed confidence and (in case of players like Bhuvaneshwar) even match fitness.

  • Dummy4 on January 8, 2014, 5:54 GMT

    It is easy to talk after retirement. These days the international schedule is packed tight you hardly get time to rejuvenate yourself. Even Dravid has skipped lot of domestic matches during his playing days.

  • hari on January 8, 2014, 5:50 GMT

    I fully agree with Dravid. I think we take the domestic tournaments too lightly. Someone mentioned learn from Aus. If you have to really learn from them, then see that they do not select 15 or 16 players for a home test match. They take only 12 and relieve any reserves to attend to state duties. In case substitutes are required the local players do the job for them. I think Dravid is very right in asking players to play Ranji. Two things to play for, first to contribute and ensure that the team reaches semis. Second, correct any fallacies before going in to an important tour. It also adds to your confidence if as a batsman you get a hundred or as a bowler your get 3 to 4 wkts. It will also test your body, if there is any hidden injury. More importantly as Dravid said, it will raise the bar for these matches. I rubbish the claim that their absence will give opportunity to youngsters, what their presence will do is much more than that. One match cannot deprive anyone of any chances.

  • Alok on January 8, 2014, 5:16 GMT

    It is surprising to note that one after another former Indian cricketer is critical of BCCI's decision to not let the six players to play in the Ranji Trophy matches, just before embarking on the NZ tour.First it was Venkatesh Prasad & Ashok Malhotra & now it is Rahul Dravid.While it may not be cold in NZ, as some have suggested (it is summer in the Australian subcontinent),I feel more concerned about their likely injuries,while playing on Ranji grounds,which can-not be as good as those prepared for international matches.Imagine a Shami or Bhuvaneshwar Kumar not available for the tour,because they got injured playing in the Ranji game.As suggested by me earlier,actually,this will open up opportunities for budding talents to show their prowess in the Ranji format and who knows,a new Shami or Bhuvi may appear on the horizon,which will come handy for the selectors for the future internationals.

  • Krish on January 8, 2014, 3:54 GMT

    I Disagree with the theory that the players should be playing in the Ranji QF, infact either way BCCI has not planned it right if i were the president of BCCI the team would have already departed to NZ by now, remember it will be quite cold in NZ and players should have been there by now rather than 12th or 13th. I hope Team India get used to the conditions fast and put up decent performances in the ODI's and Tests on the tour. Good Luck Team India, Jai Ho!!

  • Dummy4 on January 8, 2014, 2:40 GMT

    Can we learn from Australia ? who asked Mitchell Johnson to skip a series decider ODI so that he can prepare well for Ashes - months before Ashes was scheduled - and stood vindicated when he delivered series winning performances...

    Some decisions in the interest of national team has to be respected. After all, this gives an opportunity for as many new players to get a spot in the squad, and who knows one of them will be the next find.

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