Jay Shah, the BCCI secretary rejected “unfair and unwarranted” criticism that the Board prioritized the cash-rich event over national tournaments like the Ranji Trophy as he feels there is a world of difference between organizing 60 Indian Premier League matches and 2000-plus domestic games.
Last year, the Ranji Trophy, as well as junior cricket, were not held because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the operational difficulties of creating a bio-secure environment for thousands of players and support staff. While players lost out on significant earnings, the BCCI copped a lot of flak for too much focus on the cash-rich league.
Jay Shah: Criticism That BCCI Prioritized IPL Over Ranji Trophy Is Unfair And Unwarranted As BCCI Conducted Syed Mushtaq Ali And Vijay Hazare Tournaments Amidst Covid-19
The 2020–21 Ranji Trophy was scheduled to be the 87th season of the Ranji Trophy, the premier first-class cricket tournament in India. Saurashtra was the defending champions. However, in January 2021, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed that the season had been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first time since the tournament’s inception in the 1934–35 season that the Ranji Trophy was not held.
“I feel the criticism is unwarranted and unfair. In 2020 as well, in the middle of the pandemic, we conducted the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament, Vijay Hazare tournament, and Senior Women’s One-day tournament taking all precautions,” Shah, who was in Muscat and Dubai, to oversee T20 World Cup and IPL preparations, was quoted as saying by “Gulf News”.
Jay Shah said the number of matches and required logistics between two tournaments is incomparable.
“It won’t be a fair assessment if IPL is compared with other Indian domestic tournaments. The IPL has a franchise model and a platform for the world’s best cricketers, coaches, support staff to come and showcase their skills.”
“The Indian domestic season has over 2000 games, whereas the IPL has 60 matches. With a cricketing set-up as big and as diverse as India’s, it is not easy to conduct a full season when so many states are grappling with COVID caseloads,” Shah explained.
The IPL 2020 was conducted in closed doors in UAE and it was the first major tournament conducted after the lockdown restrictions eased. It helped BCCI organize some domestic tournaments but still, the Ranji Trophy did not take place which was a big question mark.
Jay Shah: With The Situation Of Covid-19 Improving, BCCI Announced Full Season Comprising 2127 Domestic Games In 2021-22
In the case of IPL, it’s always been a seven-week affair while an entire domestic season with men, women’s, and age-group cricket take around six months to be completed with 38 teams in the fray.
“You also have to factor in the time taken to have an entire domestic season and the travel that is included. They are putting their lives at risk, which should never be the case. It is not ideal to have age-group tournaments in such an environment and put careers of young cricketers at risk,” Shah reasoned about not having any U-19 or U-16 tournaments last year.
“However, with the situation improving, we have announced a full season comprising 2127 domestic games across age groups for both men and women,” he said.
The BCCI has recently published the dates of the full domestic season that starts in September this year and ends in April next year. BCCI has also shifted the 2021 T20I World cup from India to UAE due to the Covid-19 situation in the country.
Sourav Ganguly, BCCI president has said it will be a massive loss to the game if the T20 World Cup is canceled once again this year. The ICC T20 World Cup was canceled last year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Australia was all set to stage the showpiece event which had to be called off due to COVID-19 wreaking havoc across the globe. India, which also holds the hosting rights for the 2021 edition of the T20 World Cup has decided to move the tournament to the UAE.