A grueling cricket season is waiting for Indian cricket following BCCI’s announcement that 918 matches will be organized, which means 1882 playing days between September 2016 to March 2017.
However, the interesting point is BCCI still doesn’t care about the Corporate Trophy and NKP Salve Challengers tournament as they overlooked these tournaments once again. For the last three seasons, Corporate Trophy hasn’t been played and Challengers Trophy too wasn’t even scheduled last year.
Meanwhile, the BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke left the future of the two tournaments open-ended. According to him: “The BCCI has not scrapped any of this tournament.” But, he didn’t reflect on whether these tournaments have been only postponed this year or shelved. Challengers trophy’s future looks quite uncertain after BCCI modified the format of Deodhar Trophy last year.
The Deodhar Trophy matches were in 50-over format and three teams participated in the tournament like the old Challenger series. The winner of the Vijay Hazare Trophy played along with the two teams (India A and India B) selected by national selectors. The Anil Kumble-led technical committee revamped the Deodhar format in 2015.
On the other hand, Corporate Trophy, which was particularly incorporated in the domestic arena back in 2009 to encourage public and private sector to provide jobs for cricketers, has now been completely out of favour because of the scheduling problems and lack of interest in the cricket lovers.
If the interest in supporters in this TRP dominated age is an indicator then it can easily be concluded that the Corporate Trophy has lost its relevance but that cannot undermine it’s significance that lies beyond the television screens.
Interestingly last year many teams especially Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) raised an important question. The CAG offers jobs to nearly 250-300 cricketers every single year but now the numbers have drastically gone down to 80-90. “It’s a big issue, which BCCI should look in to. How many will play for India? Only 11-odd. But there are 11 millions who are jobless. Because of this tournament, not only the public sector but the private sector too have started giving jobs. Tell me why shall a company spend Rs 40,000 monthly on a cricketer now? They’ll say let’s just hire them on contract for a mere Rs 4000,” CAG coach Raju Sharma had pointed out his concern.
There are teams like CAG, Food Corporation of India, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Andhra Bank and MRF who still look after their cricket teams with definite care and also offer employment to many players. A well-known player, who didn’t wish to be named, claims, “One has to look at the bigger picture, only 10% of domestic players play IPL but what about the rest?”