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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

‘No back-up plans for 2020-21 domestic season yet but we are flexible’: Saba Karim

The 2019-20 season began with the Duleep Trophy in August and ended with the Ranji Trophy final last month. The season-ending Irani Cup was put on hold indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Published: April 27, 2020 6:10:04 pm
Umpires who don’t do well will be weeded out: Saba Karim Saba Karim is BCCI’s general manager of cricket operations. (Source: File Photo)

The BCCI has not yet made any concrete back-up plan for the 2020-21 domestic season, which is due to start in August, but the man in charge, Saba Karim, says the priority will be to organise as many games as possible amid the challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has already announced suspension of all its activities till July, including the domestic season, in the wake of the fast-spreading COVID-19 pandemic. All sporting activities around the world have come to a grinding halt.

“There are no concrete back up plans as such. There is still time for August. We are taking month by month,” Karim, who is BCCI general manager – cricket operations -, told PTI.

The 2019-20 season began with the Duleep Trophy in August and ended with the Ranji Trophy final last month.

The season-ending Irani Cup, which was to start four days after the Ranji Trophy final, was put on hold indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The IPL has been postponed indefinitely and there is a possibility that it might be held in September when the domestic season is also underway. So far, no other cricketing activity has happened in India at the time of IPL.

Asked about a possible clash between IPL and the domestic season, the former India wicket-keeper said: “It is difficult to talk about it at this stage. It all depends on how soon we overcome this situation.”

“At this stage, it is more important to be safe and secure. I am sure gradually things will open up. So we are positive.

“We will try to make the best out of the circumstances. Whatever window is available, we will try to incorporate as many matches as possible,” said Karim.

Last season, the BCCI conducted as many as 2035 games across age groups in men’s and women’s category. Out of those, 470 matches were organised in senior men’s category.

With nine teams added to the domestic circuit in 2018, the number of games has increased significantly.

Karim acknowledged the challenge of conducting a long season.

“The thought has crossed my mind (about rejig of the season) and we are extremely flexible. Otherwise also, we need to be flexible due to the fickle weather conditions. It looks, this year is going to be different. We need to be vigilant and flexible for any changes that are required.

“Whatever changes we bring in, it will be for the benefit of our players and state associations,” he added.

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