The Board of Control for Cricket is reportedly considering to suspend events like the Duleep, Deodhar and Vijay Hazare Trophy for a year while Ranji Trophy may be reversed to the conventional zonal format for this season.
The BCCI, however, may still accommodate the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 national competition in the season threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ranji Trophy and the Under 19 Vinoo Mankad Trophy are the only certainties, whereas the Duleep Trophy, the Deodhar Trophy, the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the CK Nayudu Under-23 tournament will be suspended for a year.
The Ranji Trophy, as in the past, would have initial intra-zonal round among the teams from North, Central, West, South and East. The top team from each of the five zones will qualify for the knockout stage to determine the champions, national daily Times of India has reported. Same format will also be adopted for the Vinoo Mankad Trophy.
“Right now, there’s still just an outside chance of including Mushtaq Ali (T20 tournament) in the plans. Let’s see how things work out,” the daily has quoted a source as saying.
The decision to ensure that the Ranji Trophy is played even if no other tournament happens was a fairly easy one for the Board to arrive at considering it is the only tournament in India’s vast domestic circuit – outside of the Indian Premier League (IPL) – that ensures relatively higher salaries for cricketers.
This will, however, financially impact the players who rely on domestic competitions for their earnings. The notion though is dismissed by those tracking the development.
“Cricketers don’t earn from any other domestic tournament in the country the way they earn from IPL. Ranji is the second highest paying tournament. Eight teams play the IPL, 38 teams play the Ranji. Players earn anywhere between (Rs) 10-12 lakh per Ranji season or more and some state associations also share sponsorship money. It’s a source of livelihood for many cricketers, who earn by playing the game. That is why it is important for the Ranji Trophy to happen,” argue those in know of the developments.
“In these times of Covid, it is important that all players continue to receive their fair share of money and respect,” sources say.
As for under-19, BCCI considers it to be the age-group that keeps churning out talent and considering how players may miss a huge opportunity if they miss an entire season (and go beyond the age limit), “it’s is important to consider it, even if it means playing in zonal territories,” they add.
A total of 38 teams works out to a little more than 500 players in the Ranji Trophy every year. Players for the Duleep Trophy and the Irani Cup come through Ranji but those salaries aren’t close to what Ranji helps them earn.