‘Domestic cricket will be more competitive’
Mumbai, June 12: The BCCI Technical Committee headed by Sourav Ganguly met at the board’s headquarters at the Wankhede Stadium to discuss the changes required to be made in the domestic circuit that will benefit Indian Cricket in the long run. The three-hour-long meeting was also attended by Anil Kumble – member of the Special Committee formed by the BCCI – to give more input to the Technical Committee.
Kumble, with all his wealth of knowledge gained from playing international cricket for two decades, also brought in an administrator’s perspective as the President of the Karnataka State Cricket Association. Immediately after the meeting, the former India captain took time out to speak to bcci.tv about the issues discussed in the meeting.
A change in the Ranji Trophy format, provision of allowing one bowler to bowl 12 overs in a one-day game and a more stringent outlook towards ensuring the standard of pitches in domestic matches were the key recommendations that will now be reviewed by the BCCI Working Committee.
Excerpts from the interview…
What was the agenda of this meeting?
The main discussion was about identifying the 27 Ranji Trophy teams into three different categories with nine teams each. Each team plays eight matches – four home and four away. There are going to be three divisions – group A and B replacing the Elite League and group C coming in the place of the Plate League.
What were the objectives behind recommending this new format?
Besides giving each team equal number of matches home and away, this format brings in more competition as teams will have equal chance of making it to the top two of their respective groups. We believe the home and away format gives that incentive for the state associations to organise four home matches in the centres they want. As the president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association it gives me the opportunity to take the game outside of Bangalore and develop it in the smaller centres.
What was the reasoning behind in recommending changes in the points system in the Ranji Trophy?
The recommendation that the Technical Committee had made was that instead of five points, an outright win would fetch the team six points. So, if a team wins with a bonus point, instead of six, they get seven points. The reasoning was that if a first-innings lead gives you three points, a victory should get you double the points.
Is extending the Ranji Trophy Quarter Finals and Semi-Finals to five-day affairs also a way to make the tournament more result-oriented?
That decision was made in order to give teams a better chance to go for an outright win. There are instances when a team misses out on the first innings lead by a few runs. In a five-day game, you have enough time to catch up and go on to win despite giving away the first-innings lead.
Being a bowler, did you make any recommendations that will benefit your tribe?
Yes, I suggested to the Technical Committee was that one bowler should be allowed to bowl 12 overs in a 50-over game. I’m glad it was accepted in today’s meeting. I believe that 12 overs for one bowler in the One-dayers will not only provide a better contest between bat and ball but will also bring in more room for strategising for the captains. It will affect in the way they plan, analyse and will make an impact on the batting team, be it chasing targets or setting them up. I’m glad that my suggestion was accepted by the Technical Committee.
There are suggestions of using uncovered pitches in order to encourage fast bowlers and train the batsmen for tough conditions abroad. Was that subject discussed in the meeting?
It was discussed but didn’t go through. The simple reason was that the Ranji Trophy is played during winter in India and the weather will intervene in some of the centres in the north, east and central zones. It would not be feasible to play on uncovered pitches as there are chances we won’t even get a proper match.
But there has been a recommendation of tightening the rules for the quality of wickets.
Yes. The recommendation of ensuring good cricket wickets for the domestic matches was fruitful. Now the Cricket Pitches Committee will put together a team of 10 members – instead of five earlier – which would go around the country and ensure the quality of pitches is good for all domestic matches.
The BCCI had organised a conclave of the Ranji Trophy captains and coaches to get their suggestions. How fruitful was it and what was their input?
It certainly helped in making better decisions. The suggestion of playing more number of Ranji Trophy games came from the captains and coaches. With this new format, every team will play minimum eight matches which is a great thing. Another suggestion was to make the Duleep Trophy more meaningful. Hence, the Technical Committee has recommended that the Duleep Trophy should be the first tournament of the domestic season. That will act as a huge motivation for the players playing in the tournament as they get more than a fair chance of staking their claim for a spot in the national team.
To what extent, according to you, will these changes, if incorporated, benefit Indian Cricket?
The Technical Committee has both current and former players whose suggestions are very valuable. There are also inputs from the Ranji captains and coaches and various other conclaves have been organised to get the valuable suggestions from the people directly involved in Indian domestic cricket. Everyone is included in making this decision and I’m only hopeful the results will benefit Indian Cricket.