Ranji Trophy 2013-14 January 2, 2014

Three home games in Ranji quarters

There has been plenty of talk of playing the Ranji Trophy knockouts at neutral venues but that came to an end on Thursday with the BCCI confirming that three of the quarterfinalists will get home games.

While announcing the draw for knockout stage, the BCCI declared that the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, Eden Gardens in Kolkata and Moti Bagh ground in Vadodara will host the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals, to be played from January 8 to 12. The first three venues will host a game involving the corresponding home team.

The decision went against the demand voiced during the captains' and coaches' conclave at the end of the last domestic season. Offspinner Harbhajan Singh had also supported the idea of playing knockout games at neutral venues following Punjab's tame draw against Jharkhand in Jamshedpur during last year's quarter-final played on a placid pitch.

The technical committee, headed by former India captain Anil Kumble, had discussed the concept in detail on March 22.

On Thursday, Ratnakar Shetty, BCCI general manager - game development, told ESPNcricinfo that the decision to play knockouts at neutral venues was never made. "This was one of the issues that was discussed threadbare. And at the end of it, it was decided that the chairman of technical committee will be consulted with while finalising a list of potential venues for hosting the knockout games," Shetty said. "So it was always going to be a case of pre-decided or BCCI-decided venues, and not neutral venues."

Elaborating on the rationale behind playing matches at pre-decided venues, Shetty said the concept was to play all important games on "sporting pitches monitored by BCCI curators". As a result, curators of ten grounds - Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Vadodara, Mohali, Indore, Hyderabad, Lahli, Jaipur and Mysore - had been asked to start preparing a wicket "almost three weeks ago".

Since the finalisation of the the venues, Daljit Singh, head of BCCI's grounds and pitches committee, has been in Kolkata overseeing the track's preparation. The veteran curator is scheduled to fly to Mumbai from Kolkata while PR Viswanathan, the South Zone representative in the committee, has been stationed in Bangalore. Similarly, Dhiraj Parsana will be in Vadodara till the quarterfinal gets underway.

One of the quarterfinals will be played at a neutral venue, with Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir facing off at the Moti Bagh ground in Vadodara. "Since three of the four quarterfinals have home venues, we didn't have to do too much of manoeuvring," Shetty said. "If Punjab make it to the semis, they will also have an opportunity to play at home."

The quarterfinal line-up pits Bengal and Railways against each other though they were both in group B in the league phase. Shetty explained that the clash of two teams in the same group was inevitable due to the format of the draw. "Last year's semi-finalists are always given seeding, with the top two set to play the two teams from Group C. Since only two teams from last year's top four had qualified for the knockouts, the rest of the positions were decided due to draw of lots."

Knockout schedule:

Quarterfinals (January 8 to 12)
1. Mumbai v Maharashtra - Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai (to be telecast live)
2. Bengal v Railways - Eden Gardens, Kolkata
3. Karnataka v Uttar Pradesh - M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore
4. Punjab v Jammu & Kashmir - Motibaug, Baroda

Semifinals (January 18 to 22)
Winner of 1 v Winner of 2 - Holkar Stadium, Indore Winner of 3 v Winner of 4 - PCA Stadium, Mohali (to be telecast live)

Final (January 29 to February 2)
Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad (to be telecast live)

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 3, 2014, 14:21 GMT

    This quarterfinal matchup does not make sense to me. Group C is the group of weakest teams and only the top 2 each year move to the group A and B. So the rankings should be -

    (1) A1 (2) A2 (3) A3 (4) C1/C2 (1) B1 (2) B2 (3) B3 (4) C1/C2

    The correct quarterfinal matchups should be ..

    A1 vs C1/C2 B1 vs C1/C2

    A2 vs B3 A3 vs B2


    As decided by BCCI they are,

    Mumbai (A3) v Maharashtra (C1) - Wankhede

    Bengal (B3) v Railways (B1) - Eden Gardens

    Karnataka(A1) v Uttar Pradesh (B2) - Chinnaswamy

    Punjab (A2) v J&K (C2) - MotiBaug in Baroda

    The above mentioned ones give unfare advantage to Mumbai & Punjab. Karntaka even after topping the group have to play against a 2nd ranked team from group B (UP) while these 2 enjoy week opponents. While Bengal and Railways both from same group will play again in quaeters.

    How and on what basis. What logic.

  • Bhavik on January 3, 2014, 9:26 GMT

    Its not four but Six of India ODI Squad missing the QF, including Suresh Raina and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar

  • Jayaesh on January 3, 2014, 8:25 GMT

    I also concur with every single point raised by @captaincool and would also like to add that another q/f involving Punjab vs JK could have easily been telecast especially considering the hype surrounding the medium pacers of JK and youngsters of Punjab, can anyone tell me weather India u19 vs Pak u 19 Asia cup final will be telecast on any of the TV channels ??

  • Cirano on January 3, 2014, 7:31 GMT

    @captaincool completely agreee.

  • Zaid on January 3, 2014, 5:59 GMT

    Maharashtra Derby Excited

  • Nathan on January 3, 2014, 3:37 GMT

    BCCI has a knack of going back on their words and plan to move the game to next level. 1. Can understand seeding for the last years finalists for 2013/2014, if they have topped the respective groups? Why the seeding for the last years semi finalists, if they didn't make the top-2 and also did not top their groups in 2013/2014? 2. 10 grounds have been listed out for knockout games - why not pick the 4 grounds upfront on a rotational basis in the beginning of the Ranji season itself? Ensure the home team does not enjoy the home ground advantage, even if qualified for the knockout stage - implementation of the plan is the CALL to be made 3. It would have been better a. if the second teams from Group A and B played against the top teams from Group C - this would have been a challenging test for the teams from Group C b. The toppers from Group A and B, playing against the third placed teams from the respective groups 4. Gain for the top two teams from Group C? will they move-up to GROUP-B

  • Ujjwalendu on January 2, 2014, 22:09 GMT

    The Q/F draw is kind of illogical. Instead of giving seedings to last year's Semi Finalists, it should have been given to the two group toppers ie. Railways and Karnataka. That would have avoided the re-match between Bengal and Railways who are from the same group.Also, 3 Q/F s are being played at home venues and one is being played at a neutral venue. I would have agreed if the logic was given as foggy conditions in Northern India but then the semifinal is being played in Mohali. So, it doesn't make any sense. Also regarding the live telecast, I see most of the Mumbai matches get telecasted while other teams are ignored. Mumbai v/s Haryana and Mumbai v/s Karnataka have been already shown live. None of the matches involving Punjab or Railways have been shown till now.Also, the matches could have started on 7th Jan to allow the India squad players to contribute for their state sides.

  • Dummy4 on January 2, 2014, 20:28 GMT

    Why is only one Quarter final being televised ?

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