Actions speak louder than words. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials seem to have the best interests at heart for Indian cricket. But when it comes to enhancing the commercial value of the game, they seem to use the T20 unabashedly.
After IPL’s success, a window was opened for the Champions League as well. All this was fine as long as it didn’t interfere with the domestic calendar.
But when the previous technical committee of the BCCI — Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, Chetan Chauhan and Roger Binny — advanced the dates of the Duleep Trophy from February to October, little did they realise the damage it would cause to domestic cricket.
Indian first class players, being contracted with the IPL franchises, had to be in South Africa and were not available to play the Duleep Trophy. And several Indian players weren’t picked by their teams to play in the final XI in the Champions League. They hardly got to bat in the nets because they were not part of the team management’s plan.
All of them would have walked into their respective zonal teams for the Duleep Trophy and would have been available to play for state ‘A’ teams.
These young players were not as fortunate as Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara. Their teams not having qualified for the Champions League, they turned up for the Duleep Trophy and even requested their State selectors to pick them for the ‘A’ teams. The technical committee has clearly made a mess of the calendar. And the most ridiculous part is that the working committee endorsed it!
The other mess is that of the two warm-up matches against England in Mumbai. India ‘A’ plays England at the Brabourne Stadium from October 30 to November 1, while the Ranji Trophy starts from November 2.
This means that the players are selected keeping in mind that all of them can fly on the last day of the match to their Ranji Trophy match venues. The places also must have airports because there will hardly be any time for road travel.
Does this also mean that deserving players will miss out because there aren’t flight connections on November 1 to their Ranji match venues? Is this what our selection criteria have come to?
All the players will be playing seven days in a row. Will the fast bowlers of India ‘A’, after bowling their hearts out in the October heat, have the energy to bowl in the Ranji Trophy in less than 12 hours?
And now that as a part of the strategy no spinner has been picked for India ‘A’, fast bowlers will be required to bowl throughout the match.
The second warm-up match against Mumbai ‘A’ team will be a farce if some measures are not taken.
With Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar, Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Ramesh Powar and Abhishek Nayar available to play the Ranji Trophy match against the Railways, the Mumbai ‘A’ team will not have quality players because of the clash of dates unless either Rahane or Rohit Sharma are picked for Mumbai ‘A’.
The cricketer puts everything he has to be able to play well and impress the selectors. Does he now have to worry about such worthless issues like scheduling too?