Former BCCI president N. Shivlal Yadav has appealed to BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly to seriously consider the revival of the zonal format for Ranji Trophy in view of the whole calendar likely to be affected because of COVID-19 lockdown.

“With the cricketers, like all other athletes, uncertain about their immediate future because of the current global crisis, it may not be a bad idea to have the old zonal format in which the top two or three teams from each zone make it to the knock-out phase of the Ranji Trophy," Shivlal told Sportstar .

“This will serve the dual purpose of saving lots of money and also avoid the risk element in lots of travelling which is the case in the existing format. And this will also ensure that at least the national championship is completed even if the domestic season is off to a delayed start.

“The zonal format can be the most ideal option since it also means far less number of matches and the logistics involved will be less complicated.

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“By restricting the teams to their zone, the safety measures in travel will not be an issue if the associations prefer to have their own buses to travel for the matches,” the former India off-spinner said.

“Crowd is no more a factor when it comes to Ranji Trophy as the fans are not showing the same interest as they did till 90s. The players are used to playing in front of empty stands,” he said.

At the same time, Shivlal has a word of caution with regard to safety measures when the season resumes. “Since, there is no guarantee of no one being not affected with the virus even after the lockdown is lifted, each and every aspect, as per the health guidelines, has to be implemented including ensuring that all the staff who deal with players directly and indirectly have no virus symptoms,” he said.

“Definitely, we are facing a unique crisis which demands practical solutions within the limitations with emphasis on safety of everyone involved in the game,” he concluded.