Parthiv: Contracts for State players will be perfect

Gujarat skipper, who guided his state to maiden Ranji Trophy title last season, calls for raise of match fee in domestic cricket.

Gujarat skipper Parthiv Patel is keen to repeat last season's heroics in the next domestic season.   -  V. GANESAN

The 2017-18 domestic season is two months away, but wicketkeeper/batsman Parthiv Patel is already busy practising at the Gujarat College grounds; though his teammates are occupied with KSCA’s Capt. K Thimmappiah Memorial Cricket Tournament. It was under Patel’s captaincy that Gujarat beat Mumbai in the final of the Ranji Trophy last season and he is keen to repeat the performance. “I told the players that we should win the national championship at least four to five times. Everything is provided to us by the Gujarat Cricket Association; there are seven coaches helping me train here,’’ said Patel, after a workout on Monday morning.

The 32-year-old, who made his first class debut 15 years ago, felt the Ranji Trophy match fee should go up. “There should be a rise, but I can’t put it in numbers as to how much. It should be at par with Ranji Trophy players, who make Rs. 20 to Rs. 30 lakh in an IPL season. A player, who is only playing the Ranji Trophy, should get the same amount. Then, he will be motivated to perform in the tournament. Contracts (from State associations) will also give players the feeling of security. It will be perfect for a State player to get a contract as well. If a player gets injured in the first game, he will be assured of getting some money for the season and get a feeling that he will be looked after,” he added.

Patel was one of the few captains who agreed with the BCCI’s policy of hosting Ranji Trophy matches at neutral venues last season. “One season of neutral venue was not bad for us; we won the tournament for the first time. The captains were responsible (for the policy) because a few home associations were making weird wickets. Now, we are back to home and away; it was never a problem. I look to get the best out of whatever conditions we get. We have to play our home matches at Valsad or Surat, because matches cannot be played at Motera for two years.’’

The BCCI is likely to appoint independent curators for all matches, in order to prevent the home association from preparing rank bad turners. When asked if that’s a solution, Patel said: “What I have gathered from the captains and coaches conclave is that the pitch preparation at match venues will be supervised by BCCI appointed curators. So, the pitch will be made not in consultation with the home team coach or captain. But sometimes the outside curators do not have full knowledge of the local conditions; they would not know Valsad’s history. The ground there is over a water body and you always get a feeling of moisture in the pitch. Even if the pitch is not watered for three days, it will sport a damp look. I think the BCCI curator should take charge only if he feels that the local curator is not doing a satisfactory job. Teams that come and play at Valsad and Surat know that proper wickets will be made by the local curator.’’

Patel said there will be two sides to the new format wherein 28 teams will be drawn in four groups. “There will be gaps between matches, with seven teams in each of the four groups. But the teams and players will get only six games, and not eight games to play. Gaps (lack of it) was definitely an issue until the last season. Now, teams and players will be 100 per cent fresh and fit for each game. Teams should also be playing at smaller venues as well, because you get big crowds.”