The Super League Games of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the domestic T20 competition, begins in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar from Wednesday, but none of India’s top stars will feature in the tournament as they would have joined their respective IPL teams. Moreover, talent scouts of IPL teams did not have the opportunity to look at the domestic T20 tournament because the auction was held in mid-February while the Syed Mushtaq Ali matches began in late March.
So is this tournament serving any purpose at all?
In a bid to make the domestic tournament relevant, the state associations and the IPL team representatives have asked the Indian cricket board to conduct it before the IPL auction.
In such a scenario, the established players will play in the latter stages of the tournament and the opportunity of spotting domestic talent ahead of auction also presents itself.
The BCCI has allowed players taking part in the IPL to be with their franchises a week before IPL starts. As a result teams like Mumbai and Punjab have fielded second-string teams.
“We have considered the request from franchises as well as state associations and will try to change our domestic schedule from next season onwards. Many IPL teams want the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy to be played before the auction,” a BCCI official said.
“The matter will be placed before the committee and they will decide on how to go about it for the next season,” the BCCI official added.
Former India Test batsman and Delhi Daredevils assistant coach Pravin Amre believes that a change in window for the tournament will be beneficial to all. “If the best players participate in the domestic T20 tournament, it will gain in stature. Also IPL teams will be able to spot talent and plan if the tournament is held before the auction,” Amre said.