The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) plans to start the domestic season around November 19 this year. The Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament will be the first tournament on the calendar. Indian players who are a part of Indian Premier League (IPL) teams would not be able to play the first few rounds because of the quarantine protocols in place.
The delay in the domestic season due to the pandemic means the domestic season will comprise solely of the Mustaq Ali trophy and the Ranji Trophy (December 13- March 10) with 245 games across formats.
Also Read | Tokyo 2020: The Wait Begins Now, For a Better Games
Tournaments that have been cancelled are - the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the Duleep Trophy. There is as of now, no provision for the Irani Cup.
“This is a tentative list that has been prepared and it has gone for approval of president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on condition of anonymity.
While this is a draft schedule, the question that is in the minds of the people is that, how will players who were a part of the IPL take part in the domestic matches since they will have to be in a 14-day quarantine as per government protocols. The IPL will start from September 19 and the final will be played on November 10 in the UAE.
“That’s an issue primarily for the uncapped players, who would be with the squad and would like to play some cricket. Now even if a player’s team is knocked out before playoffs, he won’t be back before November 3 and till November 17 will be in quarantine.
“For those whose teams are in play-offs and may reach finals, they will have to miss the first few rounds in that case. But again this is a draft proposal and there could be some tweaks in it,” the official said.
Speculations about whether the Ranji Trophy will go back to a zonal format have also been rebuffed by the official. As of now, the BCCI plans to continue the tournament with the group league format with slight changes.
Unlike the last two years where five teams with most points qualified from group A and B, this year, the top two teams from group A, B and C (eight team groups) will qualify for the quarter finals. The seventh quarter finalist will be the best third placed team and the eighth will be the winner of a play-off game between champions of group D (comprising minnows and relegated teams) and group E (six North East teams).
IPL AUCTION SHELVED
The BCCI, additionally is hopeful of hosting the next IPL in India (which may be held in March or April). They hope to keep a three week gap between the Ranji final and the start of another IPL season, if only to help domestic players to recover after a hectic tournament.
A report by the Times of India also suggested that the BCCI is considering letting go of the auction process for the IPL before the start of next season because of a lack of time. In this scenario, all eight franchises would continue with their current squads.
Also Read | Barefoot Reality: Indian Football’s First Wave of Modernisation a Repercussion of Helsinki Disaster
"What's the point in doing a mega auction now and not have enough time to plan it properly? IPL might as well go ahead and finish the 2021 edition of the tournament and then see how it wants to go about," a source told TOI.
The franchises also sided with the idea of having no IPL auction considering the gap between IPL 2020 and the start of IPL 2021 is roughly only four and a half months. The franchises ideally look at around 3-4 months to have a strategy in place for a mega auction.
Read more sports stories from Newsclick