BCCI mulls two-phase Ranji Trophy to minimise weather disruptions

The board has also proposed increasing the gap between matches from three days to four, especially during the first-class tournaments

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
Bad light halted play at Eden Gardens, Bengal vs Chhattisgarh, Ranji Trophy 2023-24, 3rd day, Kolkata, January 21, 2024

In 2023-24, several matches during the first half of the Ranji Trophy were severely affected by bad weather  •  PTI

The 2024-25 Indian domestic season is set for an overhaul with the BCCI keen on staging the Ranji Trophy across two phases to minimize weather-related disruptions, particularly in northern India. As per the proposal that will be reviewed by the BCCI's apex council, the Ranji season could begin in late September or early October.
The first five rounds of matches will be followed by the senior men's white-ball tournaments - the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (T20) and the Vijay Hazare Trophy (50 overs). The remainder of the Ranji season, which will include three rounds of group fixtures and the knockouts, will be staged immediately afterwards.
In 2023-24, the Ranji Trophy began in early January, with several matches during the first half of the competition severely affected by bad weather. Disruptions due to fog also caused logistical nightmares for a number of teams, leading a number of captains and coaches to voice their concerns publicly.
The board has also proposed increasing the gap between matches from three days to four, especially during the first-class tournaments. A number of players, Shardul Thakur most notably, had spoken of the need for bigger breaks between matches to facilitate better recovery and preparation for players keeping in mind the length of the competition.
Mumbai, for example, played 10 first-class matches in under 10 weeks during their run to the 2023-24 Ranji title. "If boys keep playing like this for two more seasons, there will be a lot of injuries across the country," Shardul had said. "Next year, they [the BCCI] have to re-look at it and give more breaks. When I remember playing Ranji Trophy back in the day, [a] good seven to eight years back, the first three games used to have a three-day break, and then it was a four-day break, and knockouts were played with five-day breaks."
There has also been a lot of conjecture around the BCCI looking to further increase the match fees of domestic players, as a follow-up to its increase of match fees for contracted Test cricketers.
However, ESPNcricinfo understands there are no immediate plans in the pipeline, even though discussions around the possibility of central contracts at the state level are ongoing. In March, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) agreed to incentivise its senior men's team with a 100% pay raise from the 2024-25 season.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo