Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah has written to all state associations informing them that their squad of players and support staff can be no more than 30 for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, scheduled to start on January 10. Additionally, each team needs to include a physician to look after issues regarding coronavirus.
“Each team can have a maximum of 20 players and 10 support staff. Each team should have a team physician to manage Covid-19-related issues,” read Shah’s note sent to the associations via email. “The team physician is separate from the team physiotherapist and is inclusive of the 10 support staff.”
The Indian board is set to resume the domestic cricket circuit starting with the annual T20 tournament, for which teams are expected to reach their respective hubs by January 2. The BCCI will later share more details relating to hotels, playing conditions and Covid-19-related protocols. The Board has also picked six venues – Bangalore, Kolkata, Vadodara, Indore, Mumbai and Tamil Nadu – for the event.
“The health and safety of all members of the teams, match officials, and state association staff members is central to our planning for the upcoming domestic season,” the note added. “Whilst Covid-19 has changed the way the domestic season will be conducted, measures and systems are being implemented across travel, accommodation, training and matches to ensure that we can deliver the domestic season in a Covid-19 safe environment.”
Shah also informed about the idea of having a mixed group for the forthcoming season. The grouping of the teams in five Elite and one Plate group has been done on the basis of the previous season’s Ranji Trophy rankings so that it remains consistent across formats. The top five teams based on points have been split across the five Elite groups. Similarly, the teams ranked sixth to 10th position have been put in the Elite groups, till the 28th spot.
“The top two teams from the Plate group of last year have been considered in the Elite group to achieve the balance of six teams per Elite group. The Plate group is of eight teams,” Shah added.
Qualification for Knockouts
A total of five league matches per group will be played, including the Plate group, so that all the 38 teams play the same number of matches. Although the Plate group has eight teams, each team will play only five matches. The top-ranked team from each group (five Elite and one Plate), a total of six teams, will qualify for the knockout stage and the subsequent top two ranked teams across the five Elite groups will join them there, making a total of eight teams in the knockouts.