BCCI eases entry for new domestic teams as logistical challenges emerge

Vidarbha players hoist their head coach Chandrakant Pandit on their shoulders PTI

The BCCI is confident of a seamless and hopefully competitive introduction of new teams to domestic cricket as it goes from organising "900 matches a year to 2017 matches". Saba Karim, the BCCI general manager of operations, said it was extremely challenging to work on the logistics, but is confident the systems have been put in place.

The number of matches has gone up because of the inclusion of nine new teams as the BCCI adopts a new constitution in accordance with the Lodha Committee reforms: every state in India will have full membership with the board and a representative team in all domestic cricket. The new constitution was registered as recently as August 21, which left the board with the challenge of not just logistics but also helping teams that have no existing infrastructure.

The new teams will enter representative cricket under the close supervision of the BCCI, which has given them a broad framework: they will need four administrative staff members, four groundsmen, six coaches, six physios and six trainers. The eligibility criteria has been set too, and the new teams have been asked to nominate professionals if they can find them, with the remaining vacancies to be filled by the BCCI. All the admin professionals will be hired for one year, and the coaching staff for a season, and they will all enter tripartite contracts with BCCI and state associations. Karim said the BCCI hopes the state units will be self-sufficient from next season.

A few states have already appointed coaches. Meghalaya have gone for former Karnataka coach Sanath Kumar, Bihar have asked for former India fast bowler Subroto Banerjee, former Hyderabad offspinner Kanwaljeet Singh will coach Nagaland, SS Das has been appointed by Manipur, KP Bhaskar by Uttarakhand, Gursharan by Arunachal and Sanjeev Sharma by Sikkim.

Another problem for the states is lack of grounds, which might take longer to address. For this season, though, grounds have been arranged elsewhere. Arunachal have been allocated grounds in Assam, and Sikkim in Odisha. Other states have a ground each, so secondary grounds have been arranged outside their states. Mizoram and Nagaland have been assigned a ground each in Assam while Manipur will play some of their home games in Gujarat.

Karim said the anti-corruption unit is on alert for cases of fringe players from other states offering kickbacks to the new states just to get selected and make the match fee upwards of Rs 20 lakh if they play every game. Each state is allowed three players from out of the state, but qualification criteria as a local player is up for manipulation too. To be eligible as a local player, a player must be born in that state or must be working, living or studying there for a year.

The crunch of match officials with the increase in the number of simultaneous matches is being addressed with new examinations. They still need about 15 more umpires and 12 match referees, alongside scorers and video analysts.