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‘Nothing can match real match conditions’: BCCI’s schedule for whole season cheers up cricketers

While the 2020-2021 season was truncated due to the pandemic and with hosting of one tournament each in the men’s and women’s senior division, the announcement of the full season, including a total of 2127 matches, has put the plans of cricketers on track once again.

Written by Nitin Sharma | Chandigarh |
July 4, 2021 9:10:16 am
UTCA Women’s team at Sector 16 Stadium, Chandigarh. (File Photo)

With the BCCI announcing the schedule for the whole season, including the conduct of Ranji Trophy, Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy apart from women’s one day league, women’s one day challenger trophy and women’s T-20 league apart from junior tournaments, it comes as a huge relief to the cricketers from the region as well as Chandigarh. While the 2020-2021 season was truncated due to the pandemic and with hosting of one tournament each in the men’s and women’s senior division, the announcement of the full season, including a total of 2127 matches, has put the plans of cricketers on track once again.

“It’s a big thing for all the cricketers, especially the players who could not play in the IPL or the Indian team or don’t have a job. BCCI has taken this big step and it will also motivate senior players as well as youngsters to perform well across the full season. Domestic cricket has always been an important aspect in my career apart from playing in IPL or for India A or India. Personally, I have been working on my strength training and will aim to give my 110 per cent, which I always do, in the upcoming season,” said Punjab pacer Siddharth Kaul, who has played three ODIs and three T20Is for India and also plays for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL.

While BCCI conducted only the Vijay Hazare and the truncated women’s one day league in the last one year with tournaments like Ranji Trophy being cancelled due to the pandemic, it also meant that the UTCA Chandigarh team missed out on playing in all the three formats and played only in the Vijay Hazare Trophy in March early this year. The team narrowly missed entering the knock-out stage with a second-place finish in their group. UTCA skipper Manan Vohra believes that playing consistently in the full season in the team’s third season as an affiliated unit with BCCI will be the key. “Whenever a player plays full season across formats and performs well, the performance is always noted and rewarded. So this decision is a welcome step for all the players. Last season, we played in the Vijay Hazare trophy among the top teams and it gave the team a lot of confidence. This year too, the team will aim to play with a mindset to match the top teams,” said Vohra, who is in Nagpur for a pre-training camp for IPL side Rajasthan Royals.

Prior to the Vijay Hazare trophy, UTCA bowler Shreshtha Nirmohi was forced to miss the tournament due to testing positive for Covid-19. The pacer believes that playing full season will help him and the team. “It was unfortunate not to play in the only tournament of last season. I did not train for more than 50 days post-Covid-19. After the recovery, I have been working on my strength and it will be a key season for me,” Nirmohi said.

The UTCA Chandigarh women’s team players too are looking forward to the opportunity with the women’s one day league in September kick-starting the season. “The pandemic did mean like a pause in our career and we are happy that all the three formats and all the age level tournaments will be played. It offers more chance to perform and impress the national selectors,” said medium pacer 17-year-old Kashvee Gautam, who had become the first Indian woman cricketer to pick all the 10 wickets in an innings in BCCI U-19 one-day Tournament last year.

UTCA skipper Amanjot Kaur also sees this as a big opportunity. “While we continued the training despite less number of tournaments, nothing can match real match conditions. I have been spending time on power hitting and spending more time on the crease and hopefully it will help,” Kaur said.

UTCA women’s coach Nagesh Gupta too sees this as a welcome step. “Apart from the senior level, it will be a huge opportunity for the junior cricketers too. We had a lot of youngsters in our squad and performing in junior events will see them competing for a spot in the senior team,” Gupta said.

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