indian cricket

White-ball cricket before red ball? India’s domestic calendar could be up for a significant rejig

As of last season, the domestic calendar began with Ranji Trophy. That is all set to change.

The BCCI technical committee on Monday proposed a slew of recommendations, including starting the 2018-19 domestic season with the national one- day championship for the Vijay Hazare Trophy and incorporating an extra round of matches in the Ranji Trophy.

During a two-and-a-half-hour meeting in Kolkata, there was elaborate discussions on whether the Ranji Trophy could be played with Kookaburra balls instead of the currently used SG Test.

One of the key suggestions placed was the introduction of Round of 16 (pre quarter-final) matches in Ranji Trophy.

“After the Captain-Coaches’ Conclave in Mumbai, most of the state team skippers wanted a pre-quarterfinal to be added. Now we have four groups with two teams qualifying for the quarterfinal.

“Captains feel that knockouts should start from the pre-quarters itself, so technical committee wants a round of 16 to be included. It would mean eight extra matches and also one extra match for 16 teams,” a member of the technical committee told PTI on the condition of anonymity.

Move to help talent-scouting for IPL?

With the drought-hit western India facing perennial water scarcity and monsoon continuing in the eastern states till October, it was decided that the Vijay Hazare Trophy should be the season-opening tournament. Starting Ranji Trophy in October affects a lot of four-day matches which don’t yield any result.

“The calender could be tweaked. It will now start with Hazare Trophy followed by Ranji Trophy group league stage. We will then have the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (National T20) as it would help all the IPL teams to scout for talented players. Once that gets over, the knockout stages of the Ranji Trophy will commence with the pre-quarterfinals.”

“Technical committee chairman Sourav Ganguly wants that we now prepare such a calender that at least we don’t need to tweak it for some time. There should be consistency.”

During a press conference, BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary told media that while there are suggestions about using red Kookaburra balls in the Ranji Trophy they want to continue using the Indian made SG Test balls.

“There is a recommendation that SG Test be used for age-group cricket while we use Kookaburra for senior level cricket. But we need to keep in mind that whether Kookaburra will be able to supply the huge quantity of red balls that we would be requiring. That’s why a final call has not been taken,” said the official.

Pink ball for Duleep Trophy

Chaudhary indicated that the Duleep Trophy will be once again played with the pink ball in day/night format and the BCCI’s experience of introducing cricket to “new venues” has been “pleasant on most occasions”.

There were discussions about women’s cricket also and the committee was of the opinion that for popularising the game and tapping new talents, BCCI should concentrate on having limited overs matches.

“Since the Indian women’s team is playing ODIs and T20s at the national level, these are the two formats that we should concentrate. There is no point in playing the longer format as the women’s team is not playing Test matches anymore.

“It will only help if we can prepare a good pool of white ball players,” the official said.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

What are racers made of?

Grit, strength and oodles of fearlessness.

Sportspersons are known for their superhuman discipline, single-minded determination and the will to overcome all obstacles. Biographies, films and documentaries have brought to the fore the behind-the-scenes reality of the sporting life. Being up at the crack of dawn, training without distraction, facing injuries with a brave face and recovering to fight for victory are scenes commonly associated with sportspersons.

Racers are no different. Behind their daredevilry lies the same history of dedication and discipline. Cornering on a sports bike or revving up sand dunes requires the utmost physical endurance, and racers invest heavily in it. It helps stave off fatigue and maintain alertness and reaction time. It also helps them get the most out of their racecraft - the entirety of a racer’s skill set, to which years of training are dedicated.

Racecraft begins with something as ‘simple’ as sitting on a racing bike; the correct stance is the key to control and manoeuvre the bike. Riding on a track – tarmac or dirt is a great deal different from riding on the streets. A momentary lapse of concentration can throw the rider into a career ending crash.

Physical skill and endurance apart, racers approach a race with the same analytical rigour as a student appearing in an exam. They conduct an extensive study of not just the track, but also everything around it - trees, marshal posts, tyre marks etc. It’s these reference points that help the racer make braking or turning decisions in the frenzy of a high-stakes competition.

The inevitability of a crash is a reality every racer lives with, and seeks to internalise this during their training. In the immediate aftermath of the crash, racers are trained to keep their eyes open to help the brain make crucial decisions to avoid collision with other racers or objects on the track. Racers that meet with accidents can be seen sliding across the track with their heads held up, in a bid to minimise injuries to the head.

But racecraft is, of course, only half the story. Racing as a profession continues to confound many, and racers have been traditionally misunderstood. Why would anyone want to pour their blood, sweat and tears into something so risky? Where do racers get the fearlessness to do laps at mind boggling speed or hurtle down a hill unassisted? What about the impact of high speeds on the body day after day, or the monotony of it all? Most importantly, why do racers race? The video below explores the question.

Play


The video features racing champions from the stable of TVS Racing, the racing arm of TVS Motor Company, which recently completed 35 years of competitive racing in India. TVS Racing has competed in international rallies and races across some of the toughest terrains - Dakar, Desert Storm, India Baja, Merzouga Rally - and in innumerable national championships. Its design and engineering inputs over the years have also influenced TVS Motors’ fleet in India. You can read more about TVS Racing here.

This article has been produced by Scroll Brand Studio on behalf of TVS Racing and not by the Scroll editorial team.