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Ranji games at neutral venues, Duleep’s zonal system scrapped: BCCI


Bengaluru: The BCCI’s technical committee, headed by former India captain Sourav Ganguly, decided to have all Ranji matches from the coming season at neutral venues while inter-zonal system of the Duleep Trophy will be replaced by four all-India level teams picked by the selection panel. The meeting was also attended by BCCI president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke.

“The committee discussed the format for Duleep Trophy for the season 2016-17. It was recommended that selectors would pick four teams to participate in a round-robin format tournament. The entire tournament will be a day/night affair,” a BCCI release stated.

With India playing as many as 13 Test matches at home against New Zealand, England and Australia, it was proposed by Thakur that all Test hopefuls and the fringe players should get a chance to get used to the pink ball.

“The president feels that like Challenger Trophy, this season’s Duleep should have all the big players as well as Test hopefuls getting a chance to play with pink balls under lights. That’s why it has been decided there will be no zonal system this time round,” a member of the technical committee told PTI today.

It was also learnt that Ganguly had suggested about having a quality foreign team for the Duleep Trophy, but it was decided otherwise.

“Ganguly’s proposal was duly considered. But then we felt that supposedly we call a first-class side from Australia and if they lose the first match in knock-out system, the purpose of inviting them would get lost,” the source added.

It was learnt that all matches will be played with kookaburra balls but some other sports goods firms are also in discussions to manufacture pink balls for D/N games.

The other major decision was having Ranji Trophy games at neutral venues.

“In a bid to make domestic cricket more competitive and rule out the issues related to preparing specific wickets for home teams, as well as to expose players to play in different conditions, the BCCI Technical Committee recommended neutral venues for the Ranji Trophy matches This is a step recommended to make domestic Ranji Trophy cricket more competitive,” the release stated.

It was learnt that some members wanted to try the new system of doing away with the toss, which has been used in the English county season this time wherein the visiting team is given the option of electing to bat or field, but then majority decided in favour of neutral venues.

“Home teams using pitches to their advantage has been a long-time complaint. There wer
e two options. Do away with the toss and neutral venues. Majority felt that neutral venue is a better option. Also this would mean that some of the young curators will never be under pressure from home team captains,” a member of the technical committee said.

According to the release, “The Committee also cleared India ‘A’ tour of Australia in August for two four-day matches and a tri-series.”

The BCCI will also hold talks with New Zealand Cricket (NZC) so that they can find a slot for an ‘A’ team tour Down Under. The last ‘A’ team tour to New Zealand was in 2012. The recommendations will now be tabled at the BCCI Working Committee.

In the NCA Committee meeting, the members were updated about the assessment of all the ongoing zonal camps in various age groups and the umpires’ refresher course.

Members were also briefed about the physiotherapist and trainers course to be conducted by the NCA next month. Physios and trainers of all the state associations will be attending this course.


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