BCCI President Sourav Ganguly was determined to stage the Ranji Trophy this season, but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was not too sure. At a recent meeting, the Apex Council members of the BCCI weighed in a couple of options – whether to hold the national domestic first-class championship or national one-day championship (Vijay Hazare) — and then decided to give themselves more time. Despite recent health issues, Ganguly was an active participant in the meeting, held via zoom call.
With the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy underway till this month-end and the Indian Premier League will be held in April-May, the BCCI felt it cannot find a window big enough to go through the whole Ranji schedule. But Ganguly suggested that the championship can be held on either side of the IPL, with league stage before the tournament and the knockouts after it. The problem with such an arrangement is of the weather. Given that there are 38 teams in all, at least 60 days will be needed to go through the league stage of the Ranji Trophy.
A decision has now been taken, in principle, that should the government not grant tax relief, the board will agree to take the financial burden on itself and pay the amount from its share of the ICC revenue. It means that there is no immediate threat to the two global events in India.
However, the board has decided to compensate the players equally, even though the Ranji Trophy won’t be played. Apart from this, the board will organise a T20 tournament for women’s next month. Women’s cricket has not been played a lot ever since the pandemic started, with the exception of the Women’s T20 Challenge in the UAE, during the IPL playoffs.