Ranji Trophy format: BCCI urged not to fiddle with eligibility rules

Former BCCI official Ratnakar Shetty has asked the board to revert to the old Ranji Trophy format.

Former BCCI official Prof. Ratnakar Shetty has suggested that there should be no more than three teams from the same zone in each Elite group.   -  Getty Images

Former BCCI official Prof. Ratnakar Shetty has urged Saba Karim, BCCI’s general manager cricket operations, to revert to Ranji Trophy’s old format wherein top teams are placed in three Elite groups and others in the Plate.

A week before the Ranji Trophy captains and coaches conclave here on Friday, Shetty applauded the Committee of Administrators (CoA) for giving an opportunity for associate and affiliate members to play in all domestic tournaments.

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In a note addressed to Karim and copied to the CoA and BCCI CEO, Rahul Johri, Shetty said that the 2018-19 domestic season was a challenging one considering that the BCCI had to implement the CoA's decision to include all States in domestic tournaments.

There was little time to think about the format and there was no technical committee, too, to help. He added that the next domestic season can be planned better, looking at all the problems from the last season.

Shetty raised the issue of eligibility rules and said that it should not be fiddled with in the Plate group. “The purpose of Lodha recommendations is defeated, if we allow more than three guest players in any team,” he noted.

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No ‘outsiders’

“In Uttarakhand, we took a decision not to include any outsider in any team other than the Ranji Trophy where we had three professionals to guide the local talent.

“It worked wonders because the local boys and girls got opportunities and it generated interest among the locals.”

Shetty also emphasised the necessity to revert to the old Ranji Trophy format with two divisions — Elite with three groups and a Plate Group with the last team in Elite Group-C relegated and replaced by the Plate winner.

He has also asked the BCCI to revive the championship separately for Plate Group teams in order to determine the winner.

Shetty further suggested that there should be no more than three teams from the same zone in each Elite group.

In the 2018-019 season, five teams from the west zone — Mumbai, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Baroda and Saurashtra — were placed in Group-A.