The Indian cricket board is trying to spruce up limited-over games in domestic cricket. There are two domestic tournaments, the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy and the T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali, which are played on a zonal basis but the new proposal now strives to follow the Ranji Trophy format. There will be also changes in the point system of Ranji Trophy and fielding restrictions in the limited-over formats.
The Ranji Trophy, the premier first-class tournament, has 27 teams divided equally into three groups. The attempt is now made to similarly align the Vijay Hazare and Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament. The teams will be divided into four or five smaller groups, comprising six or seven teams in each. In the current set up Vijay Hazare is first played on zonal basis and top-two teams from each zone qualify for the knock-out stage.
The technical committee of the Indian cricket board, which is scheduled to meet on May 19th is likely to bring these changes in the domestic circuit. The new proposal has emerged after the coaches and captains enclave held in March, at the end of last Ranji Trophy season.
Groups not zones
The players and coaches had suggested the 50-over and T20 tournaments be divided into three groups from different zones and play each other like in the Ranji Trophy. But the Indian board couldn’t accommodate that fully because of lack of sufficient stadiums. “If we have Vijay Hazare and Syed Mushtaq Ali on the lines of the Ranji Trophy, then the duration will be long. So we have decided to have group of six or seven teams instead. And the matches should be held in the two cities which are close to each other, so that traveling can be done without much problem,” a BCCI source said.
The technical committee will also review whether there should be changes in the Ranji point system. As things stand the teams have given more preference to getting the first-innings lead, instead of going for outright wins. They get three points for first-innings lead and five for outright wins. This point system will be tinkered to benefit teams to go for the outright wins as opposed to being satisfied with just the lead.
The technical committee will also follow the new fielding restrictions rule as recommended by the ICC in which five fielders will be allowed during the last ten overs of the 50-over games in domestic cricket.