In a lopsided schedule drawn for the Vijay Hazare All-India limited overs tournament commencing at Visakhapatnam on February 26, Karnataka, the champion in the recent K.S. Subbaiah Pillai Trophy South Zone event at Goa, will have to play a pre-quarterfinal while second-placed Kerala will directly play the quarterfinal!

Karnataka will play its pre-quarterfinal against Uttar Pradesh while Kerala will clash against North Zone topper Punjab in the quarterfinals.

“Since it’s a knockout stage if you have one bad day, you are out of the tournament. Frankly, us playing pre-quarters doesn’t make any sense,” said Karnataka’s batting coach J. Arun Kumar.

Only the semifinalists of the Vijay Hazare tournament’s last edition – Bengal, Mumbai, Delhi and Punjab – are granted direct entry into the quarterfinals.

The BCCI’s Fixtures Committee has obviously overlooked current performance while allocating the other qualifiers through a draw of lots.

Zonal champions like Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Assam have now been placed in the pre-quarters.

It surely is a travesty for these teams to go through the pre-quarters route despite leading their respective zones!

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