Former India captain Sourav Ganguly has expressed his disappointment concerning the overhaul of Ranji Trophy structure. He feels the newly released structure by BCCI for the forthcoming domestic season can devalue first-class cricket.
It is pertinent to mention here that the BCCI technical committee, headed by Ganguly, had approved the addition of North-Eastern states, Puducherry and Bihar during its meeting in April. However, the structure proposed by the technical committee wasn’t implemented when the domestic calendar was released.
As per a report published in The Indian Express, the promotion and relegation format in the CoA-approved scheduled has thrown open a big debate, with the bottom team from Elite Group C getting relegated to the Plate Group next term.
Considering the gulf in class between the Ranji Trophy regulars and the newcomers (nine new teams), there is a thought process within the BCCI that the demotion could actually benefit the Elite C wooden spooners, when they will face the Plate Group teams next season.
“It has been done. So the people concerned will have to find a way to get around it. In the past, the Elite and Plate groups had been abolished, because it was felt that the performances in the Plate Group weren’t given enough recognition,” Ganguly said in an exclusive interview with The Indian Express.
“I think, it’s because of the current situation in the BCCI (this has happened),” he added.
Ganguly also made it clear that his committee was always in favour of inducting the North-Eastern states, Bihar, Puducherry and Uttarakhand into the Indian cricket mainstream.
“At some point, they had to start,” he remarked.
Another option was to incorporate the new teams in the top-tier without any split. The BCCI general body meeting on June 22 took a resolution that the Ranji Trophy would go back to the Elite and Plate groups format, with “all the teams presently playing Ranji Trophy shall play in the Elite Group” while the new teams like Bihar and the North-Eastern states “shall participate in the Plate Group”.
Reports also suggest that the qualifying Super League has also been proposed, featuring the two bottom placed teams in the Elite Group and top two teams in the Plate group, with the winners and the runners-up getting promotion to the top tier next season and the other two teams featuring in the lower tread. Apparently, the first-class schedule that was released on July 18, including Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Sikkim and Uttarakhand in the Plate Group, overlooked the proposals from the technical committee and the general body.
(With inputs from The Indian Express)