BCCI will be looking at a colossal monster in this year’s Ranji Trophy as nine more teams have been added to the 28 current present teams to make the total of 37 teams.
The Committee of Administrators (COA) gave the green signal to expand the pool of teams and as a result, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Sikkim, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Pondicherry will mark their debut in Ranji Trophy and other domestic tournaments and Bihar will make its return to domestic scene after almost 20 years.
Lodha Committee had recommended all states should field a team in domestic cricket and this was implemented by the CoA and now it results in one of the heaviest domestic seasons for the BCCI.
Ranji Trophy was a two-tier event featuring 28 teams until last year. The Indian Express understands that four groups A, B, C, and D will be carved out. The ‘A’ and ‘B’ group will include top-ranked teams depending on their ranking in domestic cricket. The new teams will be grouped in C and D.
Last season had seven teams in each group and the tradition of relegation and promotion is set to continue. However, the challenge here will be logistical for the BCCI, to get these many grounds for matches. The board and CoA decided that North East states which do not have the infrastructure will play in other states or avail Railways’ facilities as it has grounds all over the country.
“Getting grounds will not be an issue but logistics will be a big challenge for us especially with nine new teams coming in. Apart from senior teams, these nine new teams will have various age groups teams as well for under 23, under 19 and under 16 tournaments,” sources said.
Vijay Hazare Trophy will kick off the domestic season and Duleep Trophy is most likely to be played in Chennai.
It was also reported that Saba Karim, BCCI’s GM of cricket operations, will make a presentation on yo-yo test to quash the raging debate on it. “We wanted to understand what the yo-yo Test is all about and we had asked Saba Karim to give us a presentation,” COA chief Vinod Rai told reporters.