Arun Lal vouches for relegation system in domestic cricket

Where teams finish in the Ranji Trophy should matter to them, Bengal coach Arun Lal said as he vouched for a tier-based system in the domestic circuit.

Arun Lal called for the development of a more competitive and rewarding system of play in the Indian domestic circuit.   -  Rajeev Bhatt

Ever since taking charge as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Sourav Ganguly has made it clear that his prime objective will be to improve the standard of first-class cricket in the country.

And former India international and current Bengal coach Arun Lal believes the board should consider reintroducing the tier system in a bid to make domestic tournaments more competitive.

“Maybe (have a) little more competitiveness. There should be two- or three-tier structures – something they attempted to do but it did not really work out – where you could have relegation,” Lal told Sportstar on Friday, after Bengal’s first match of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy was abandoned due to rain.

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Having played at the highest level of cricket for long, the 64-year-old Lal also believes it is important to have bigger prize money for the teams winning the Ranji Trophy.

“It should make a difference to a team whether you should come third or fourth in the Ranji Trophy,” Lal said, making it clear that other parameters – good wickets, umpiring and lodging facilities – have improved a “lot over the years.”

Number of games a concern

Rain has been a major area of concern for the BCCI this season and Lal feels that in a bid to make the tournaments competitive, there is a need to relook at the number of matches being played. “Lots of matches are played and it’s a logistical nightmare for the board. That’s why these things are happening – extended rainy season and there is just not enough time to complete the matches. That’s one area they need to look at – the quantity of matches,” Lal said.

“(The) prime job of any administration is to ensure a competitive nature of the league. You might have any number of coaching camps and coaches and physios, but in the middle great cricketing atmosphere, great umpiring, good wickets and competitive league are what matters,” the seasoned campaigner pointed out.

Heavy rain led to the abandonment of Bengal’s first fixture and Lal knows the road ahead will be tough. But he expects his team to put up a spirited show in the forthcoming games.

“We will play the field as we get in. There is clearly not a lot of planning to do. Nothing changes – it’s the same resolute response from everybody and everybody has to do their roles in the team,” Lal said, quickly adding: “You can’t fight the weather, so there is no point worrying about it.”