Sport

BCCI mulls change in Ranji format

Pick of the lot: Team Saurashtra, the reigning Ranji Trophy champion.

Pick of the lot: Team Saurashtra, the reigning Ranji Trophy champion.  

The proposal is for a shorter tournament with fewer group-stage matches

The BCCI is considering a change of format for the Ranji Trophy.

The proposal is to split the Elite teams into five groups instead of the current three, The Hindu has learnt. At the moment, Elite Groups A and B have nine teams each while Group C has 10. The Plate group has 10 teams.

In the new avatar, each Elite group will have six teams, while the Plate group will consist of eight (the top two from the previous season will be promoted to Elite Group E).

Toppers qualify

The teams that finish on top of the five Elite groups will qualify directly for the quarterfinals.

The three remaining spots in the last eight will be identified from playoffs featuring the five second-placed teams and the Plate winner.

This means the number of matches will reduce drastically — from 169 to 113.

The proposal was submitted before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, but with the pandemic disrupting the sports calendar the world over, the BCCI could be tempted to test it for the next season, which is almost certain to be shortened.

Some BCCI officials feel that the new format could make the domestic season less crowded, reduce travel and lessen the workload for several players who feature in the IPL and in matches for India-A. “The BCCI’s (yet-to-be-appointed) cricket committee will have to take a decision on this, of course,” a BCCI official said.

It will be interesting to see how the players respond to the proposal.

Those on the fringe may not want to lose three matches per season (at present, they can play eight games in the league phase, but that number will come down to five in the new format).

Fewer games would mean less money, too. A player gets approximately ₹1.4 lakh per four-day match.

Shield and County

So how many games do First Class teams in England and Australia — two countries with a robust domestic structure like India — play?

A top-division English county team participates in 14 First Class matches per season (eight teams play each other, home and away). Australia's Sheffield Shield is also played on a double round-robin format: all six sides play 10 games each and the top two clash in the final.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 2:40:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/bcci-mulls-change-in-ranji-format/article31681020.ece

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