Ranji Trophy revamp blocked as CoA-BCCI tussle continues

The BCCI logo on the Indians' kit Cricket Australia

The Committee of Administrators that oversees the running of the BCCI has asked all its officials to disregard the resolutions made at the Special General Meeting on June 22.

The BCCI's acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary had called for the meeting without prior approval from the CoA. This led to the two-member panel comprising Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji barring the board from holding the SGM.

Nevertheless, the BCCI members met in Delhi and contemplated changes to the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy, namely the addition of a Plate Group to the tournament, comprising the new teams that are now eligible to take part - Bihar and the North Eastern States. The existing 28 teams, meanwhile, will make up the Elite Group.

However, these decisions will not be put into practice just yet with the CoA sending out an email saying, "it is directed that no office bearer/ committee member/ employee/ consultant/ retainer/ service provider shall in any way implement, act further to or in aid of any resolutions that may have been passed during the aforesaid meeting [SGM]."

The board also discussed a promotion and relegation system, where the bottom two teams in the Elite Group and the top two teams in the Plate Group would take part in a qualifying super-league. At the end of the super league, the top two teams would play in the Elite Group the next season while the bottom two would play in the Plate Group.

The operational aspects of how such a tournament will run were not specificed, but it was decided at the SGM that this format would apply to all-age group tournaments as well in both men's and women's cricket.

With the addition of Chhattisgarh, there have been 28 teams in the Ranji Trophy for the past two seasons. Till 2016-17, the Elite-Plate structure was on the lines of teams being divided in three groups, with Group A and Group B being the Elite groups and Group C being the Plate group. With 28 teams in 2016-17, it meant Group C had 10 teams, and with the BCCI also trying the concept of neutral venues that season, it made for hectic travel schedules, with teams typically having just a day's rest between travel and matches. In 2017-18, the neutral venues experiment and the Elite-Plate system was done away with, and four groups of seven teams were made.

Apart from the change in structure to the Ranji Trophy, the SGM also passed a resolution to "consider and to take decisions on the T20 tournaments hosted and organised by State Associations". This will involve determining whether outstation players, who don't have IPL contracts, can play in local leagues such as the Tamil Nadu Premier League, the Mumbai Cricket League or the Karnataka Premier League. A committee comprising BCCI office bearers and Sourav Ganguly, the chairman of BCCI's technical committee, will decide on this. The resolution said they will also consider whether those players who have "briefly" played in the IPL can take part in these leagues, without specifying how many matches, or seasons, in the IPL would count as "briefly" having played the league.

June 28, 11.15 GMT This story was updated with information about the CoA's response to the decisions taken by the BCCI at the SGM on June 22