Ranji matches set to be hosted at neutral venues

During the meeting, held as part of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Conclave here on Thursday, the majority felt there was nothing wrong doing away with the home-and-away matches.

Parthiv Patel (right) and Paras Mhambrey are backing the move.   -  PTI

The discussion on adopting neutral venues for the Ranji Trophy this season is due to reach its logical end with coaches and captains of several State teams backing the move.

During the meeting, held as part of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Conclave here on Thursday, the majority felt there was nothing wrong doing away with the home-and-away matches.

Should the decision be ratified by the Working Committee on Friday, the upcoming season will see around 20 select-venues hosting matches under the supervision of zonal curators.

All for neutral venues, Gujarat’s captain Parthiv Patel said “we should not see a repeat of what happened at some of the venues last year. I also feel that ‘home advantage’ doesn’t necessarily influence the outcome of the match.

“For instance, the home team that prepares a ‘rank turner’ does get to bat on a flat surface. It also faces the same challenge when it bats on a track that is aimed to assist spin. I think there is no harm in trying out neutral venues for a season or two. Thereafter, the pros and cons can be reviewed.”

The former India wicketkeeper-batsman said, “This brings new challenges and test those aspiring to play international cricket. The teams will have to prepare differently once the venues are declared well ahead of the start of the season.

Another former international Paras Mhambrey saw the move towards adopting neutral venues as a “step forward.”

“I think we won’t have matches ending in two and a half days because of the vagaries of the pitch. A few seasons ago when the Board was keen on ‘green pitches’ what we got was flat surfaces. There were some positives for sure. In any case, home advantage is not being used in the right manner.”

The day also included meetings of the Indian Premier League Governing Council, Junior Committee and the Affiliation Committee.

On Friday, the all-important Working Committee is expected to ratify the decisions taken by various committees since it last met.