BCCI had released the schedule for the Ranji Trophy 2018-19 schedule just two days ago. BCCI is already looking at the mammoth task of arranging officials and umpires for over 2,000 matches that will take place all over India this season.
The revised Ranji Trophy, starting this season, will consist of Elite Group and the Plate Group. The Elite Group will have three sub-groups - A, B & C. The Plate Group will have one sub-group - D.
The Elite group A and B will have 9 teams each and group C will have 10 teams in it. Plate Group D will consist of the nine new teams from the northeast - Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Sikkim & Uttarakhand.
However, the questions arise for the quarterfinals of the tournament. BCCI's new Ranji regulations stipulate that five teams from Elite Group A and Elite Group B, two teams from Elite Group C and one team from Plate Group D will make it to the quarterfinals. However, the regulation doesn't specify how will the five teams from Elite Group A & B be finalized.
"Will it be three teams from Group A and two from Group B? Will it be based on net run-rate or outright wins?" ask players.
Confusion of promotion and demotion
New Ranji regulations also specify that top team that qualifies for quarterfinals from the Plate Group will be promoted to Elite Group C in the next season. The top two teams that qualify for the quarterfinals from Elite Group C will be promoted to Elite Group A & B in the next season.
"Assume I do badly in Elite Group C. What happens? I get demoted to Plate Group D next season? Then I play teams from the northeast and qualify straight for the quarterfinals again next year? Then why would I want to struggle in the Elite? I might as well lose, go to Plate and take the easy route, no?" said players.
Scheduling of Ranji Trophy tournament for the next season has become a headache of the richest board in the world.
Trouble of Fees
Players also have a big problem with the fees structure that has been put by BCCI for this new Ranji season, especially with the nine new teams that will be taking part for the first time.
The new pay structure released by the BCCI's Committee of Administrators (CoA) call for players making the XI to be paid Rs 35,000 per match day and Rs 17,500 to cricketers outside the playing XI but in the 15 in first-class cricket.
"That's a blanket fee for all cricketers participating in the Ranji Trophy. So, basically, it doesn't matter whether you're a player from Mumbai or Delhi or Karnataka with 50 matches under your belt or an unknown cricketer from the northeast who - we're not even sure yet - qualifies for the Ranji, you'll be earning the same fee. Then where's the motivation? Why play for Mumbai or Delhi and struggle to get into the XI instead of just shifting to Nagaland or Meghalaya?" say players.
(With inputs of Cricbuzz.com)