BCCI geared up for domestic overhaul despite teething troubles

The exercise of accommodating nine new teams in the Ranji Trophy is a mind-boggling task.

From registration of players to clearing their claims based on the Board’s eligibility rules, the backroom staff of the BCCI has been engaged to rise to the occasion.   -  AFP

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is gearing up for the challenge of organising 2017 matches in the 2018-19 season.

The Duleep Trophy - currently in progress - has set the ball rolling but the exercise of accommodating nine new teams in the Ranji Trophy is a mind-boggling task.

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Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Sikkim and Uttarakhand are the teams who will be making their Ranji trophy debut in November. They begin their journey with the elite by participating in the Vijay Hazare Trophy to be held in September.

From registration of players to clearing their claims based on the Board’s eligibility rules, the backroom staff of the BCCI has been engaged to rise to the occasion. “It is a humungous job but the BCCI is proud to have the infrastructure and the organising skills to deliver,” said a veteran official.

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Even as some teams have taken the stand that they would encourage local talent, there have been reports of extraneous pressures working to push individuals. “The domicile rule allows a player to qualify if he/she is born or is a resident of the state,” confirmed the official.

What has attracted the attention of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) are complaints of corruption in `accommodating’ players from outside the state. CoA chief Vinod Rai had promised to look into the matter and assured that Anti Corruption Unit officials would be alerted to ensure a fair practice of selection.

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Some officials, however, raised doubts on the process being followed to pick the three guests/professional players. “This is the area where the BCCI would have to keep a close watch. Normally a professional is one who brings rich experience to the dressing room. The purpose would be defeated if these new teams draft rookie players as guests,” the official noted.

As for conducting the tournaments, the BCCI has the required infrastructure and the officials. New, qualified, umpires and match referees have been included to supervise the matches. “I am sure, given its past reputation, the BCCI would not be found wanting on the organisation front. There could be some teething issues but hopefully things would fall in place,” observed the official.