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With eye on domestic players’ livelihood, BCCI plans Ranji Trophy before IPL

The board has only a two-month window to host its four-day competition as it wants to start the IPL in April. With more than two lakh Covid-19 cases still active in the country, the BCCI will have to chalk out plans to stage the tournament safely.

Vidarbha team poses with the trophy after defeating Saurashtra in the final cricket match of the Ranji Trophy 2018- 19, in Nagpur on Feb. 07, 2019.(PTI FILE)

The Ranji Trophy, India’s premier First-Class tournament, which couldn’t be conducted last year due to the pandemic, will likely be held before the Indian Premier League (IPL). The Indian board pays Rs 40,000 per day to the players for the four-day Ranji Trophy matches, which is the main source of income for more than 800 domestic cricketers. The BCCI has also given the green signal to host women’s senior games, but is yet to decide whether to go ahead with junior cricket this season.

The Indian Express understands that during Sunday’s Apex Council meeting of the Indian cricket board, secretary Jay Shah sought feedback from the members whether they preferred the 50-overs tournament Vijay Hazare Trophy or Ranji after the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 ends on January 31. It’s learnt that the Ranji Trophy could be a truncated affair, like the ongoing T20 competition.

The board has only a two-month window to host its four-day competition as it wants to start the IPL in April. With more than two lakh Covid-19 cases still active in the country, the BCCI will have to chalk out plans to stage the tournament safely.

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“The Apex Council had a discussion on the issue. And Jay bhai was of the view that players earn more in Ranji Trophy as compared to Syed Mushtaq Ali. The livelihoods of domestic cricketers depend on the four-day game. The operations team has been told to go ahead and make a concrete plan for the Ranji Trophy,” a BCCI official said.

With 38 teams playing in Indian domestic cricket, logistics and mobility could be a big task. The board had taken verbal feedback from state associations and many wanted to host the T20 and 50-over competitions. However, it is learnt that a few players requested Shah to host the Ranji Trophy instead of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

The dithering over junior cricket is due to the bio-bubble situation as the board feels dealing with it will be a tougher task for that age-group.

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