The Ranji Trophy next season will have pre-quarterfinals. This was decided at the BCCI’s technical committee meeting in Kolkata on Monday. The matter would be placed before the cricket board’s general body for final approval.
At the BCCI conclave last month, the domestic teams’ coaches and captains had advocated that the Ranji Trophy be switched back to the old three-group format instead of four. The abolition of the relegation system was also criticised.
The Sourav Ganguly-led technical committee, however, backed the existing four-group format, with each group having seven teams. To compensate for the lesser number of group league matches, which some captains felt had hurt their teams’ chances to qualify for the knockouts, pre-quarterfinals have been introduced.
“It will remain a four-group format and no relegation. But this time there would be pre-quarterfinals. The system would be like pre-quarterfinals (with 16 teams), quarterfinals, semifinal and final,” a BCCI official told The Indian Express.
The BCCI technical committee also decided to stick to the SG whites for the domestic limited-overs matches instead of Kookaburra, unfavourable feedbacks from the players notwithstanding. SG whites were used on an experimental basis in the Mushtaq Ali T20 and the Vijay Hazare Trophy last season.
“The effort has been to as far as possible and practicable indigenise the game of cricket in India. With time we have been going forward with using our own cricket products. But there will be certain exceptions in certain tournaments until the time we are able to persuade and convince the ICC to accept our own manufactured balls, even for international games to be played in India which is not the case in shorter formats,” the acting secretary of the BCCI, Amitabh Choudhary, told reporters after the meeting. As for Bihar’s participation in the Ranji Trophy, as also the teams from the North-East, the BCCI general body will take the final call.
The conclave also raised the issue of a bigger pay package for domestic coaches, on the heels of a 200 per cent pay hike for the domestic cricketers. Asked about this, the BCCI official said: “That’s the prerogative of the state associations.”