Domestic season, England series on BCCI Apex Council meeting agenda

The future of India’s domestic cricket season will be up for discussion when the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s Apex Council meets virtually on October 17.

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India's domestic cricket season is expected to take priority at the BCCI Apex Council meeting. (REPRESENTATIVE PICTURE)   -  Getty Images

The future of India’s domestic cricket season will be up for discussion when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)’s Apex Council meets virtually on October 17.

Usually, the country’s domestic tournaments begin by the third week of August, but this time around, there is no clarity on the season due to the coronavirus pandemic. While the Board president Sourav Ganguly had earlier indicated that efforts are on to conduct the season ‘as much as possible’, the state associations and the players are waiting for an official word from the Board.

Read: Ganguly wants to host England in India in a bio-bubble  

Initially, the BCCI had decided to start the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy from November 19, but as of now, there has not been any progress on that front and most of the associations are worried that the season could be further delayed due to the rise of COVID-19 cases.

“We have our plans in place but there are a lot of factors that we need to keep in mind before going ahead with the season. States have different protocols and the state associations need to follow the guidelines accordingly. The health and safety is of utmost importance and we are monitoring the situation,” a senior Board official said, admitting that all the efforts will be taken to ‘try and start the season’ at the earliest.

In the 2019-20 season, the BCCI had hosted 2036 domestic games across various age groups in the men’s and women’s category. But this time around, creating a bio-bubble for so many teams across the country could be a very difficult task, given the virus threat.

Also read: India's tour of Australia: Selectors likely to pick squad next week  

A section of the BCCI officials believe that if the Ranji Trophy is at all conducted, then it has to be in zonal format. However, there are also chances that if the situation does not improve, then it would be a curtailed season - with just shorter format tournaments.

As they wait for an official confirmation from the Board, some of the state units - Cricket Association of Bengal, Cricket Association of Pondicherry and Sikkim Cricket Association - have already started their fitness camps and even plan to take the next step. The Cricket Association of Uttarakhand (CAU) has decided to conduct a one-month training camp for its senior men’s squad in a bio-secure environment from October 14.

England, Australia series on the agenda

Apart from the domestic season, there will be discussions on England’s tour of India as well. England is scheduled to tour India next year between January and March for five Tests, three ODIs and three T20Is. Ganguly had earlier stated that the priority is to host the tournament in India, he had also indicated that Mumbai could be the best option for a bubble with three international venues - Wankhede Stadium, Cricket Club of India and DY Patil Stadium. But Sportstar understands that the Board is looking at various options to create a bio-bubble, and the state-of-the-art infrastructure at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad could also be considered for the bubble.

Also read: Uttarakhand ropes in Jay Bista for 2020-21 domestic season  

“The situation is still fluid, but we have to discuss various points and make sure that we are ready,” the official said. India’s tour of Australia could also be discussed in the meeting and a final fixture is expected around that time.

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