With changes already introduced ahead of the upcoming domestic season, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has also decided to reinstate zone-based ‘best pitch award’ in the Ranji Trophy. The BCCI arrived at this decision after the conclusion of a two-day BCCI curators’ conclave at Delhi’s Ferozeshah Kotla on Tuesday (September 5).
The award was discontinued last year with the board citing that the lack of uniformity regarding the number of matches each venue was getting. However, the board has reversed its decision for the upcoming season and feels that the RS 10 lakh cash reward will motivate the associations to prepare the best possible wickets.
“The best pitch in a particular zone would be given Rs 10 lakh each, which would give a boost to the local association to prepare best possible wickets,” a board official was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
Last year, the board had introduced the neutral venue format after receiving several complaints regarding the pitches in the 2015-16 season. As many as nine matches finished inside two days, forcing the BCCI to give up on the tried and tested home and away format.
Former India captain Rahul Dravid had also criticised the pitches, saying:
“A lot of people criticise and say Ranji Trophy [knockout] matches should be held in home venues of teams. “But if teams resort to doing these kind of things, then I think it is better the knockout matches are staged in neutral venues.”
Meanwhile, BCCI’s technical committee has made several changes ahead of the new season. The one-year old neutral-venue system has been scrapped, paving the way for the return of the traditional home-and-away format. The 28 teams, meanwhile, will be divided into four pools each as opposed to three in the previous seasons. As a result, the teams will now play only six games each in the league phase. The board has also decided to hold the Duleep Trophy with the pink ball under the lights.