State associations divided on domestic season

BCCI had sought its members’ views on which tournaments to conduct in pandemic-hit 2020-21

The State cricket associations appear divided on how the upcoming domestic season, severely curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, should play out.

The BCCI on Saturday had asked the 38 associations to choose one of four options for how the season should be staged: 1: Only Ranji Trophy; 2: Only Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy (SMAT20); 3: Both Ranji and SMAT20; 4: SMAT20 and Vijay Hazare Trophy (VHT).

By Tuesday evening — a day before the deadline for submitting the response — more than 20 member units are understood to have written to the BCCI. While no unit has chosen option one, The Hindu has learnt that the third and fourth options have the most takers. Of the 20 associations whose details are known, seven have preferred Ranji and SMAT20 and seven have chosen SMAT20 and VHT.

While some of the central and northern units such as Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have opted for only SMAT20, some of the major State units, including Mumbai, Saurashtra and Tamil Nadu, have preferred to start with the limited-overs option and then consider staging the Ranji Trophy if the pandemic eases.

It means that neither Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), the most successful Ranji outfit, nor defending champion Saurashtra (SCA) has ticked the Ranji Trophy box.

MCA secretary Sanjay Naik told The Hindu that the MCA had made its decision “considering we have the IPL and two T20 World Cups in the next two years and the need to manage shorter tournaments”. SCA secretary Himanshu Shah said the “Ranji Trophy can be thought of only after the COVID-19 wave subsides”.

The only exception is the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), which according to a BCCI insider, has stressed on the need to “stage all the senior tournaments, even if they clash with IPL 2021, and even conduct women’s and age-group events later on”. The KSCA and Tamil Nadu Cricket Association are also among a few units that have offered to host the tournaments.

Two-time champion Vidarbha has opted for SMAT20 and Ranji, but president Anand Jaiswal added that the VCA has requested for “sufficient preparation time since the State government is yet to allow staging any competitive cricket in Maharashtra”.


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