Wasim Jaffer, the former India opener, reckons the BCCI should look at the option of doing away with tournaments such as Vijay Hazare, Duleep and Deodhar Trophy for the 2020-21 domestic season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and focus on conducting full-fledged Ranji Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 competition.
The next domestic season is scheduled to begin in August, but with the country still fighting the ongoing pandemic, that seems unlikely at this stage.
In such circumstances, Jaffer thinks a rejigged calendar, with priority placed only on state-based first-class and T20 cricket, is the best way to go, as that would allow enough break for the players and they wouldn't be rushed into different events.
"As and when the season commences, whenever cricket starts, the priority is to have the IPL first. The BCCI can look to start with the IPL as the first tournament,” Jaffer told PTI on Monday (June 15).
The board is hoping for the pandemic to be over and have a new window in place for IPL 2020, possibly between September to November. However, that is subject to postponement of Asia Cup T20 and the T20 World Cup, both scheduled during that period.
"Once the IPL finishes, the BCCI can look to start the domestic season with the Irani Trophy (Cup) as Saurashtra deserves to play it as they are first-time champions," said Jaffer.
"Then we can start the Ranji Trophy. And before the (IPL) auction, as and when BCCI keeps the auction for next year’s IPL, we should have the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy and scrap the Vijay Hazare, Duleep Trophy and Deodhar Trophy and use that period to hold these major two tournaments with the adequate breaks for players."
"Rather than rushing all tournaments and players not getting sufficient rest or changing the formats. That is the only thing I feel, use those two months of Vijay Hazare and Duleep trophy. Have sufficient breaks and hold these tournaments only, which are more premium tournaments," he added.
"And it probably goes into junior-level also, try and scrap the ODI tournaments in U-23 or U-19, so that I feel the players will get sufficient breaks and they can look forward to these tournaments."
Jaffer also suggested the board to revisit the way the Ranji Trophy is currently played. He wants the road to and past the quarter-finals to be made tougher by having teams from only combined Elite Group A and B, as well as Group C, make it to the top 8.
Since the introduction of new teams to the domestic level, the Ranji Trophy has seen a team from Plate Group D also qualify for the quarter-finals, apart from five teams from Elite group and two teams from Group C.
While the idea is to encourage the new state teams and keep the possibility of one of them winning the title open, the flip side to that is an easier quarter-final encounter for one of the Elite teams.
"And one more thing is having Ranji trophy with teams split into groups with nine teams each in A, B and C and three teams qualifying into knockouts from. Three teams from A group, three from B group of elite teams and you can have two teams qualify from the C group, so that makes it eight teams and have the quarter-final among those teams."
"The D Group (Plate), they should only get the incentive of topping the table to get the promotion into C group. I feel the top team from the D Group shouldn’t be allowed to play the quarter-finals, as that makes the competition a little weak,” concluded Jaffer.
(Inputs from PTI)