Duleep Trophy sacked, Bihar and North East removed from Ranji Trophy calendar

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced some major changes in the domestic cricket structure. Duleep Trophy has been dropped from the calendar which used to be one of the premier domestic tournaments of the country that included teams – India Red, India Blue, and India Green.

A BCCI official said that Duleep Trophy is best suited either at the start of the season or at the end as it is played under lights. As Ranji Trophy is marking a start of the season this year, there was no space for Duleep Trophy. Last year, the tournament was played with pink balls under lights.

“If you remember, ahead of the World T20 year [in 2016], we didn’t have the Duleep Trophy because there was no relevance in holding it when we were looking at selecting a T20 side. Last year, we had a 13-Test season, so starting the Duleep Trophy before the Tests had greater relevance and we had time to do it. The Duleep Trophy takes 24 days [to finish], and with such a long season and with all venues being occupied – obviously we can’t do it in June or July – we had only September,” a board official was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

“And, this year we are starting the international season on September 17 which means the team would assemble on September 10 or 11. That’s the reason we decided to defer it to the beginning of next season, which is again a Test season with India playing West Indies and touring Australia and New Zealand. The Duleep will then form the basis for selection in the longer formats,” he added.

Bihar and North East removed

In another announcement made by BCCI, Bihar and North East were not included in the Ranji Trophy calendar. This year, the Ranji Trophy will be played in 4 groups instead of 3. The first match will take place on October 6 while the final will be played on December 29.

Nabha Bhattacharya, the convenor of the Northeast Cricket Development committee, expressed his disappointment over BCCI’s move. “This is gross discrimination to states from the Northeast. We were promised to have a combined team in the Ranji Trophy in the last season and also this time. But this time too we have not been considered. We will now meet again and we may consider to appeal in the Supreme Court,” Bhattacharya was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.

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