Dharamsala, Ranchi among new Test venues

India is scheduled to play New Zealand, England, Australia and Bangladesh in its 2016-17 home season. The domestic season will see Duleep Trophy being played under the lights for the first time.

The scenic HPCA stadium in Dharamsala will host its first Test match, where India will take on Australia.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has allotted a Test match to each of the six new Test centres but has omitted Nagpur as a venue for the 13 Test matches to be played against four opponents at home in the forthcoming home season.

Read: >CAB changes Super League final format in anticipation of hosting Day-Night Test

Indore, Rajkot, Visakhapatnam, Dharamsala, Ranchi and Pune were allotted Test status last November. All the six centres have been apportioned a Test match in what would perhaps be the longest Test season India will play at home. The decision was announced on Thursday after the BCCI’s tour, programme and fixture committee met at its headquarter in Mumbai.

While Indore will host a Test against New Zealand in October, Rajkot and Visakhapatnam will stage their maiden Tests during the five-Test series against England in November-December. The marquee series against England will see the remaining three centres – Dharamsala, Pune and Ranchi host Test matches for the first time. All these three centres, incidentally, are the home turfs of BCCI president Anurag Thakur, secretary Ajay Shirke and joint-secretary Amitabh Choudhary respectively.

The decision to allot games to new centres has resulted in three of the earlier 10 Test centres missing out on a Test match. While the stadium in Ahmedabad is being renovated, Delhi’s administration is in a mess. Nagpur’s omission is startling since the pitch in the hometown of ICC chairman Shashank Manohar has been severely criticised during the last Test against South Africa last year.

A member of the tour, programme and fixture committee confided to Sportstar that the Nagpur pitch issue was not discussed in the meeting. Besides accommodating the new centres, the allocation of matches, according to him, has aimed at restoring the rotation policy for Test matches, which had gone haywire in the last couple of years.

Nagpur’s loss has resulted in Chennai’s gain. The M. A. Chidambaram Stadium will host a Test after three years during India’s series against England.



5 ODIsin Dharamsala, Delhi, Mohali, Ranchi and Visakhapatnam. 3 ODIsin Pune, Cuttack and Kolkata.

3 T20Is in Bengaluru, Nagpur and Kanpur.

OPPOSITION

VENUES

New Zealand

3 Tests in Indore, Kanpur and Kolkata.

England

5 Tests in Mohali, Rajkot, Mumbai, Visakhapatnam and Chennai.

Australia

4 Tests in Bengaluru, Dharamsala, Ranchi and Pune.

Bangladesh

One Test in Hyderabad.

Bangladesh Test deferred

The BCCI has rescheduled the lone Test match against Bangladesh from the start of the season towards the latter half of the season, which will see India playing 13 Tests, eight ODIs and three T20Is.

Earlier, the BCCI had planned what would be Bangladesh’s first Test in India ever since making its Test debut in 2000 in September. However, since the Duleep Trophy is likely to be played in a league format, there would be no slot for it at the start of the season. As a result, the BCCI may squeeze the game — allotted to Hyderabad — in February, before the start of the four-match series against Australia.

Day-Night Test not discussed

Despite the BCCI having made its intentions to host a pink-ball Test against New Zealand in October under the floodlights, Thursday’s meeting did not include the topic. It is understood that the committee hasn’t even provisionally zeroed in on a Day-Night Test venue since “the fate of the pink-ball Test match will depend on the feedback received by players during the Duleep Trophy”.

The Duleep Trophy, scheduled for September, >will be played under lights. If the plan to stage the Day-Night Test goes ahead, Eden Gardens in Kolkata will be the front-runner to host it.

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