RCA's domestic season chances weaken
The Rajasthan Cricket Association was kept out of the BCCI's central zone meeting to finalise venues for zonal age-group tournaments on Wednesday, indicating that the state association's chances of participating in the upcoming domestic season are weak.
The ad-hoc committee headed by Brijesh Patel, that had been appointed to oversee disputed domestic associations, has already informed the BCCI of its inability to sort out issues with the Rajasthan government. On the sidelines of the BCCI's marketing committee meeting in Mumbai on Thursday, one of the BCCI's office bearers also told members he had doubts on whether Rajasthan could feature in the upcoming season.
Following its suspension from the BCCI and its exclusion from the board's domestic programme, the RCA was not invited for the central zone meeting where the associations of Vidarbha, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Railways chalked out the itinerary for the zonal tournaments, including the inter-state under-16 and under-19 tournaments.
The RCA office-bearers, however, remained confident about being a part of the domestic season and maintained that the selection process for all age-group and senior teams would begin soon.
Despite excluding the RCA from its domestic schedule, the BCCI had kept a slot open for the suspended association if the ad-hoc committee headed by Brijesh Patel could sort out the issues with the state government. While the committee did not receive a favourable response during their meeting with the state government, it was considering approaching the authorities again. However, ESPNcricinfo understands that the committee decided against doing so, opting instead to wait for the Rajasthan state government officials to make a move. With the time running out, the forthcoming Ranji Trophy could feature 26 instead of 27 teams.
If Rajasthan continues to be sidelined, the junior boys and girls will miss out on one full season of domestic cricket. As for the Ranji cricketers, some of the seniors like Pankaj Singh, Robin Bist, Vineet Saxena along with promising youngsters like Ashok Menaria and Deepak Chahar may play for other teams as professionals. Though the BCCI's deadline for domestic transfers ends on August 31, the board will allow transfers of cricketers from Rajasthan after the deadline, if required.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo