India’s star off-spinner Harbhajan Singh took a dig at BCCI as he criticized the board for the state of domestic first class cricket in India. The 35-year old has suggested the idea of playing in neutral venues for ranji trophy and the idea is now reportedly backed by CAB president, Sourav Ganguly and BCCI newly appointed president, Anurag Thakur.
The player, who has represented India in 103 Test matches, is quite vocal with his thought as he feels that the domestic circuit produces the country’s best talent and it is no good for them to play on doctored wickets.
However, few associations are against the idea last year but it became a serious idea to discuss about. The off-spinner believes that there is “no point playing on doctored pitches.”
According to cricbuzz, he stated, “Earlier, I was only playing international cricket, and had little idea about the issues in domestic cricket. However, the experience of doing so for the last four-five years has given me a fair idea of what needs to be done to improve it,” Harbhajan told before adding: “I have given my suggestions in this regard to the concerned people in the Board. I won’t be able to attend the conclave due to personal commitments (he is on the verge of becoming a father), but my views will be put forth by our representative.”
The spinner got the idea when he played against Tamil Nadu where he managed to pick ten wickets but was not happy with the wicket.
“It was perhaps the best venue that I have played in domestic cricket. There were around five to six thousand people who turned up to watch that match, and the ground was beautiful, lush green. However, when I saw the wicket before the match, I realised that it was unfit for a first-class game. Any batsman could have been hurt on that. The match finished before lunch on the second day. I did not enjoy taking wickets in that match at all.”
The player also stressed on the very essence of domestic cricket as he said: “It is a real concern. The game should not be about ordinary spinners or bowlers taking wickets. It should be about skill, fighting till the end. Domestic cricket has to be about producing champion players, who can do well in any conditions. Let’s make fair wickets which give a chance to everyone. For this reason, I feel that we can have a system where players from the South play in the North Zone, or say a Punjab team plays at various grounds in Gujarat. There is no point in playing on doctored wickets.”
Asked if the decision could affect the crowd attending the matches, Harbhajan said: “Is that more important or is it fine to produce bowlers who will struggle to take wickets abroad, or batsmen who do not know how to construct an innings, because they simply have not batted that long.”
The veteran spinner also suggested that the board should switch from SG balls that are currently being used to Duke balls.
“The SG balls go out of shape pretty early, and you have to change it frequently. The Duke, as I saw in England, retains its shape and does not need to be changed till the new ball is due,” he suggested.
“All the players in a team must wear the same kit, including the helmet. Right now, you see players using their IPL or India helmets, which isn’t correct. It is first-class cricket after all. In county cricket, all players wear the same gear, from head to toe, and it makes players feel that they are playing for a side. Lastly, the Board must make it mandatory that every domestic team will have a qualified trainer and a physio,” he concluded.