Tamil Nadu coach D. Vasu: 'We cannot give Ranji Trophy a miss'

Tamil Nadu coach D. Vasu says that the Ranji Trophy could be held on a zonal basis or a knock-out format.

Tamil Nadu

File picture of Tamil Nadu coach D. Vasu (second from left) and B. Aparajith.   -  VIJAY SONEJI

When will the Indian domestic cricket get underway this season? Or will these competitions, the lifeline of cricket in the country, happen at all in 2020-21?

Tamil Nadu coach D. Vasu is aware of the challenges in a season ravaged by COVID-19. But then, he has not lost hope.

With the government opening up, and lifting several restrictions, the TNCA hopes to complete its league fixtures, including the semifinal and final of the first division league, in October.

Bio-bubble

Vasu, a respected former South Zone all-rounder, told Sportstar, “The first division league should conclude by mid-October. After that we need to get about 30 State senior team probables into a secure bio-bubble.”

He added, “All of us should stay together in a hotel and strictly adhere to the rules of the bio-bubble. And those breaking the bubble will go to the back of the queue.”

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Vasu said, given the logistical concerns, the Ranji Trophy might return to a zonal format. “We might have two or three centres in the South Zone and the whole team could travel in a bus instead of flights. The driver of the vehicle too should be part of the bubble.”

Things will fall in place

There is a likelihood of the domestic season beginning with the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 competition in mid-November and Vasu noted a lot of things would fall in place during the tournament.

Vasu said the consequences would be disastrous for Indian cricket if the Ranji Trophy was not held this season. “We can have it on a zonal basis or a knock-out format from the very start but we cannot give this prestigious competition a miss.”

He said, “We all would need to see the SOP from the BCCI for domestic competitions. Then, we can work on that.”

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Last season, Tamil Nadu excelled in the shorter formats, reaching the final of both the Syed Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare tournaments.

But then, it got off to a disastrous start in the Ranji Trophy, losing outright to Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh in its initial matches. The side came back strongly towards the end of the league but lost out on qualification.

“We have learnt our lessons from the last season. We have a team with a lot of ability. It has to be channelled in the right direction,” said Vasu.

Firstly, the uncertainty over the domestic programme has to clear.

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