<
>

BCCI forced to reschedule matches due to unavailability of umpires

Saba Karim arrives for the second day of IPL 2018 player auction AFP

On the eve of the start of the Ranji Trophy, the state units have received a letter from the BCCI asking them to adjust the logistics and travel arrangements of their teams in three different events because of the unavailability of umpires and match officials for those days.

In a press conference in August, called to apprise the media of the BCCI's readiness to stage India's biggest-ever domestic season, Saba Karim, the GM of cricket operations, had said the BCCI was still recruiting more umpires keeping in mind the increased number of matches this season, but he had also promised the quality of the personnel would not be compromised.

With newer teams entering the fray in accordance with the Lodha Committee's recommendations - there are 37 teams in the Ranji Trophy this season, up from 28 last season - Karim said the BCCI was going from organising 900 matches a year to over 2000. As on August 31, the BCCI still needed about 15 more umpires and 12 match referees, not to mention more scorers and video analysts.

Karim told ESPNcricinfo that the BCCI had filled up those vacancies but during the heaviest part of the season it didn't find the right permutations and combinations. "Once we drew out the fixtures, we asked the umpires and match officials for their availability," Karim said. "It just so happened that the officials we have available don't fulfil the neutrality qualification or they are not the right grade. We have sufficient umpires and match officials to conduct the whole season now after these adjustments."

The third round and the knockouts of the Cooch Behar Trophy and the Under-19 four-day competition have been pushed back by almost a month each. The knockouts of the senior women's one-day tournament have been postponed by two days.

"In view of the unavailability of umpires during the month of December 2018, matches have been rescheduled as per the schedule below." Karim wrote in a letter to all the state units, the office bearers, the CoA, the CEO and the CFO of the BCCI. "You are requested to make logistic arrangements accordingly."