With Kiran More being granted amnesty by the BCCI, the way has been cleared for Kapil Dev’s return too to the official cricket mainstream. Kapil fell out of favour of the board following his association with the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) in 2007.

According to a Board official, efforts were made to reach out to Kapil and find a compromise method. Kapil met the Board president N. Srinivasan ahead of the Working Committee meeting here on Monday. Indications were bright of Kapil’s proactive role in cricket administration.

“We have nothing personal against any cricketer. Kapil is an icon and means a lot to Indian cricket,” the official said. More had sought amnesty from the Board but Kapil had steadfastly refused to do so.

“The Board was not in favour of dragging the issue and it would be nice to have Kapil’s services for Indian cricket,” the official added.

Kapil, captain of the 1983 World Cup-winning team, served the Board as chairman of its Ground and Pitches Committee before being appointed as coach of the Indian team in 1999. His tenure as coach, however, was cut short leading to the appointment of John Wright for the job.

The Working Committee approved of most of the recommendations of its technical committee to improve the quality of domestic cricket.

The new format for the Ranji Trophy would involve 27 teams to be divided into three groups of nine each. The knockout stage of the tournament would involve top three teams from group ‘A’ and group ‘B’ and the top two finishers of Group ‘C’.

Each team will host four matches and the venue would need to be identified well in advance. All the home venues would be monitored by a committee formed by the Board with a special emphasis on the pitches. “Curators from the Board would assess the quality of the pitches,” a Board official asserted.

Among the many suggestions expected to liven up the domestic circuit this year was Test legend Anil Kumble’s proposal in limited overs cricket.

One bowler would now be allowed to bowl two extra overs in addition to his quota of 10. The idea is to give the bowler added opportunity to counter the domination of batsmen on placid pitches.

The under-22 championship has been replaced by the ‘A’ teams tournament involving cricketers in the under-25 age group. The first overseas tour for under-25 will be to New Zealand in September this year.

In its efforts to take the game to small centres and also spread its base, the Board has granted recognition to Chhattisgarh to enable it field a team in the Plate group of the under-16 section.

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