Under tremendous pressure from the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), the BCCI revoked its original decision to reschedule Bengal’s smog-hit November 7-10 Ranji Trophy match against Gujarat, which was cancelled, awarding a point to each team.
It effectively means Bengal, now with 18 points from seven matches, are all but out of the contention as they play their last round group league encounter against Madhya Pradesh from tomorrow at the Airforce ground in Palam and need to win with a bonus (7 points) to harbour any chance to making it to the knock-outs.
On the other hand, Gujarat, with 25 points from seven games, are in a much better position to qualify for knock-outs.
Ironically when the decision was being taken, Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president Sourav Ganguly was here attending a MCC Cricket Committee meeting.
It will be interesting to see what will be the stand taken regarding this issue by Ganguly and CAB joint secretary Avishek Dalmiya, who faced the first challenge of his nascent administrative career.
It was learnt that Mumbai are on top of Group A with 29 points from seven games and Tamil Nadu, who are on 23 points also from seven games, had protested and also had written to BCCI to change the decision of rescheduling the Bengal versus Gujarat match from December 15-18 in Visakhapatnam. Their contention was that the teams would know what is required after all others had completed their matches.
Dalmiya had also written to BCCI requesting them not to revoke the decision.
While rescheduling of the Group C match between Hyderabad and Tripura at Karnail Singh Stadium has also been revoked but Hyderabad with 30 points and a match to go are all but sure to qualify and Tripura had no chance. So the team that suffers most is Bengal.
It was BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke, who had issued a press release on November 8 evening citing the prevailing weather conditions as the reasons for cancellation of the two matches.
Accordingly BCCI had also rescheduled the two matches.
When asked about this reversal of original decision, Shirke explained: “There is little bit of an ambiguity. Let me explain to you the whole process. We went through the entire process, the terms of reference of technical committee (Ganguly is chairman), specifically do not come into play when the tournament is on.
“When the tournament is on, the senior Tournament Committee takes over and is responsible for adjudicating on any matters pertaining to the conduct of senior tournament.
Therefore this matter should have been referred to senior tournament committee, whatever reasons, because of the umpires calling off the match on second day or whether the fog was a natural calamity or not or smog,” Shirke said.
“There was some confusion on that we have now decided to make the rules more explicit so that such situations may not occur in future, everything is a learning process. This is the first time there was a smog-pollution affected match and therefore, I think what the senior tournament committee has decided is a fair call in the interest of cricket and within the rules.”
Asked when the release was issued about the rescheduling of the game, whether he was misinformed, Shirke retorted, “There is no need to do any public prosecution of BCCI employees”.