Duleep Trophy 2022 - plagued by poor scheduling

There is little point in holding both an India versus New Zealand ‘A’ series, including First-Class matches, and the Duleep Trophy at the same time. 

Himanshu Rana of North Zone plays a shot during the Duleep Trophy quarterfinal against East Zone at the CAP Siechem Ground in Puducherry on Sunday.

Himanshu Rana of North Zone plays a shot during the Duleep Trophy quarterfinal against East Zone at the CAP Siechem Ground in Puducherry on Sunday. | Photo Credit: THE HINDU

There is little point in holding both an India versus New Zealand ‘A’ series, including First-Class matches, and the Duleep Trophy at the same time. 

A part of the cricket caravan has moved here for the North-South Duleep Trophy clash from September 15.

Hopefully, the most maligned competition in Indian cricket is here to stay.  

A tournament that celebrated domestic cricket and served as a selection trial for Tests was reduced to no more than a circus by some powerful satraps in the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India).

So, what we got in a format designed to probe skills in the game’s longer version was a comical competition played as a day-nighter with coloured clothing and pink ball, with teams robbed of their identity.

So, instead of North, South, West, East and Central, who brought with them regional pride and competitive edge, we had India ‘Red’, ‘Blue’, ‘Green’ and so on. 

Thankfully, wiser counsel prevailed in the BCCI and the Duleep Trophy has returned in its original format.  

But then, the Board has slipped up on one crucial front - scheduling. Here the BCCI will do well to learn from the foreign boards who rarely allow their domestic competitions to be diluted. 

There is little point in holding both an India versus New Zealand ‘A’ series, including First-Class matches, and the Duleep Trophy at the same time. 

From an Indian perspective, both competitions cut into and cannibalise each other.

Don’t the selectors want to see a glittering talent such as Yash Dhull against New Zealand ‘A’? 

The same applies to Shahbaz Ahmed, a skilful left-arm spinner and a free-stroking southpaw. He is as natural as they come. 

Looking at it the other way, does not the Duleep Trophy deserve the cream of the domestic talent that is now playing New Zealand ‘A’.

Why is it that we undermine our own tournaments and devalue them?

The ‘A’ tour is an important concept and the exchange of such series has helped Indian cricket immensely. 

However, with a little tinkering of dates, we could ensure that the strongest possible side could be fielded for the Duleep Trophy and the best of the best could be on view in the India ‘A’ series just a few days later.

This way, the Duleep Trophy will have more depth and the performances here will have greater value. 

And the selectors too would get a better idea of the talent and potential on view when Prasidh Krishna or Shardul Thakur test the emerging batters in the Duleep Trophy. 

Why cannot we have a ‘win-win’ situation with a little adjustments of dates? 

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