For any sports committee to take a decision, it has to study the ground realities. The technical committee of the BCCI, under the chairmanship of Sourav Ganguly, has taken certain decisions without studying the ground realities.
They are still inflexible regarding matches being played on uncovered pitches. The Board had agreed last season to play all junior matches of BCCI on uncovered pitches, as it helps players in developing skills.
Many former cricketers, including Bishan Singh Bedi, welcomed the move but the technical committee didn’t. They felt it would result in many matches not being played in northern and central parts of India because of heavy dew.
That for six decades matches were played on uncovered pitches was completely forgotten. As Bedi rightly said, “I played my cricket on uncovered pitches and I don’t remember matches getting abandoned because of heavy dew. Playing on uncovered pitches does help.”
In fact, in Mumbai the monsoon league is played even when there is a drizzle. Wet ball, puddles on the run-up and muddy pitches test the technique and temperament of batsmen.
Once in 1979, Sunil Gavaskar rushed to play the Kanga League right after playing the last Test at The Oval. He rarely missed these matches.
One expects the committee to study the past before exercising its authority. In 2003, the BCCI technical committee scrapped the under-22 for the under-25 tournament on an experimental basis.
The rationale given by the Board was that the age limit for employment was 25 for Public Sector institutions and nationalised banks, and by representing the state if they could meet the job criteria, why not have an under-25 tournament.
However, most associations realised midway through the tournament that if the under-25 match clashed with the Ranji Trophy, majority of those players were required to play the Ranji Trophy.
Despite the fact that only three Ranji players were allowed to play for under-25, all states struggled except the top five. Moreover, for those turning 20, under-22 was an ideal platform as competing with under-25 players would be difficult. This demoralisation could make us lose talented boys.
In 2004, the technical committee realised the mistake and immediately reverted to the under-22 format.
Another decision taken by the committee is to play one-day N.K.P. Salve Challenger Trophy in between the longer version Duleep and Ranji tournaments. All teams practice with a purpose. How does one expect a state coach to plan when one-dayers are pushed to October. Shouldn’t the Salve Trophy be played with other one-day tournaments after the Ranji Trophy?
By playing Duleep Trophy before the Ranji Trophy what motivation will the players have to play Ranji Trophy? The performers of Ranji Trophy play in the Duleep Trophy, but with this decision those who played in the Duleep Trophy in January this year will be getting a second chance on last season’s performance. This seems illogical.
It’s time the technical committee spent more time on technicalities to help teenagers. They are far too engrossed with Ranji formats. Their concern might be well intended, but, one might ask, shouldn’t they have discussed the pros and cons thoroughly before arriving at a decision, rather than taking decisions in a couple of hours which may not help Indian cricket.