Domestic teams seek rejig in Ranji knockout format

With the addition of nine teams for the previous season, the BCCI not only introduced Plate Group for the newbies but also decided to let the Plate topper be a part of Ranji quarterfinals.

Some of the captains and coaches suggested zonal format for Duleep Trophy.   -  REPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE/ THE HINDU ARCHIVES

The captains and coaches of various domestic teams urged the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to rethink the qualification mechanism adopted for the Ranji Trophy knockouts. The representation was made during the annual captains and coaches conclave here on Friday.

With the addition of nine teams for the previous season, the BCCI not only introduced Plate Group for the newbies but also decided to let the Plate topper be a part of Ranji quarterfinals.

The inclusion of the Plate topper was at the cost of a team from the top-two groups.

Sportstar understands that almost half a dozen captains and coaches, who spoke during the conclave, asked for a rejig of the format. All the delegates welcomed new teams into the BCCI fold but stressed that the Ranji knockouts should not be diluted.

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“We are happy with more players getting a taste of first-class cricket but it should not hamper the quality of the tournament, so it was suggested that the Plate Group champion — possibly with one or two more teams — be promoted to Group C but not included in the knockouts,” a coach of a major domestic side, preferring anonymity, told this publication at the end of the conclave.

Interestingly, the suggestion was made by a plethora of stalwarts but it didn’t find a mention in the statement released by the BCCI.

Some of the captains and coaches suggested that with cricketers not taking a three-team Duleep Trophy format, with the teams selected by national selectors, not resulting in individuals playing for a team cause, it would be best to revert to the zonal format to make the tournament relevant.

Later in the day, coaches and captains of domestic women’s teams — in a first — discussed means to improve the set-up. The key demand for all the teams was to organise more matches for women.