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July 2, 2013
Ranji groups for 2013-14
The BCCI has promised a four-day gap between Ranji Trophy league matches from the fourth round onwards in 2013-14. For the last few seasons, players have had to make do with a three-day break between most of the matches. This has been a cause of great discomfort for players: injuries have increased, there is no time to recover from injuries, and fast bowlers in particular have to hold back in order to make it to the next game.
The BCCI has also promised that all Ranji matches will be scheduled on weekends, although it might not be possible for the five remaining matches after the third round, if the four-day gap is to be observed. The full domestic schedule will be announced on July 8.
The Ranji Trophy is set to have a four-day break for Diwali after the first round. Besides, with nine teams in each group, each team gets a week off at some point during the league stage.
The other significant decision made at the BCCI's technical-committee meeting was to leave the choice of the venues for knockout matches to the grounds and pitches committee. Last season's knockout matches were played on a home-away basis. So, if Mumbai had hosted Services in their last encounter, their semi-final now was to be played at Services' home ground, which meant braving the Delhi chill, fog and rain. The sides struggled to finish an innings each in that game. The BCCI's press release didn't say the venues will necessarily be neutral, but it seems to be a departure from deciding the venue based on where the two teams last faced each other.
The Under-25 four-day matches will now start a day after the Ranji games have begun so that the younger players not picked for the senior side can be released to play for their respective U-25 sides. The SG Test ball will also be used for Under-25 games as well.
Among the other changes, all Deodhar Trophy matches, and the knockouts in the Ranji Trophy one-day matches, will be day-night fixtures. There will be no bonus points in the one-day matches. The Women's teams will be divided into Elite and Plate groups for the one-day matches and T20s.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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