Almost two years to be precise after Saurashtra beat Bengal by 44 runs in a thrilling final to clinch the Ranji Trophy at Rajkot, the traditional domestic cricket tournament is set to be back. In an announcement which would come as massive relief for hundreds of domestic cricket, umpires, scorers and ground staff around the country, BCCI secretary Jay Shah on Friday stated that the Board will hold the 2021-22 edition of the Ranji Trophy, initially postponed due to a surge in covid cases in the country, in two phases, the league phase before the IPL, and the knockouts post the glitzy T20 league.
“The Board has decided to conduct the Ranji Trophy this season in two phases. In
the first phase, we plan to complete all matches of the league stage while the knockouts will be held in June,” Shah said. “My team is working closely to mitigate any kind of
health risk caused by the pandemic, while at the same time ensuring a highly competitive red-ball cricket contest. The Ranji Trophy is our most prestigious domestic competition, which has been providing Indian cricket with an enviable talent pool every year. It is absolutely important that we take all necessary steps to safeguard the interest of this premier event,” he said in the statement.
On Friday, former India head coach Ravi Shastri had said on social media that the Ranji Trophy is the backbone of Indian cricket and the premier domestic red-ball tournament should not be ignored. “The Ranji Trophy is the backbone of Indian cricket. The moment you start ignoring it, our cricket will be SPINELESS tweeted Shastri. TOI had reported on January 23 that the Board was mulling options to hold the league phase of the Ranji Trophy before the IPL, and play the knockouts later.
In an email to all the affiliated associations of the BCCI on Friday, Shah wrote: “Dear members, I hope you are doing well. I write to you to apprise you that all the decks have been cleared and we’re set to conduct the Ranji Trophy 2020-21 season shortly. Earlier this
month, the Board was forced to postpone India’s premier domestic tournament in the
wake of rising Covid-19 cases in the country. “Ever since the decision on the postponement was made, the Board was working on several models to ensure that the tournament takes place as soon as the environment is safe and conducive.
As stated in my earlier communication the hard decision of postponement was done keeping in mind the safety and wellbeing of everyone concerned.” With the daily number of cases having declined, the BCCI was in a better position to conduct the Ranji Trophy, Shah wrote. “The daily positivity rate has now begun to de; cline, while the recovery rate has been encouraging across India. We’re now in a much better position to conduct the tournament than earlier. We’ll continue to have bio-se-lA cure bubbles to mitigate any potential risk. The Board is committed to providing a healthy and safe environment and seeks your support in ensuring a safe tournament for all our key stakeholders. The Ranji Trophy and Col CK Naydu Trophy were scheduled to begin in January this year. The Ranji Trophy was not held last season as well due to the pandemic.