Reports: BCCI considering conducting group stage of Ranji Trophy ahead of IPL 2022

India’s primary First-Class tournament, which was scrapped last year due to COVID-19 concerns, was against postponed this season.

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Ranji Trophy final
Ranji Trophy. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Dark clouds are looming over the fate of this season’s Ranji Trophy as the 2022 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is scheduled to get underway in March end. India’s primary First-Class tournament, which was scrapped last year due to COVID-19 concerns, was scheduled to get underway in January. However, the pandemic again forced the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to postpone the competition indefinitely.

With IPL being an important part of India’s cricket calendar, the official cancellation of this season’s Ranji Trophy seems a matter of time. As per the latest developments, however, BCCI is still mulling to accommodate Ranji Trophy in the schedule. The board officials are also considering conducting the league stage ahead of IPL and play knock-out games later.

BCCI trying best to organize the Ranji Trophy

“Provided the covid situation stays in control, we’re keen, hopeful, and trying our best to organize the Ranji Trophy. If we start the Ranji Trophy by, say February 10, we can complete the league phase in a month, well ahead of the IPL.The knockouts can be played post the IPL,” source was quoted as saying by the Times of India.

“We are thinking of two options: Either go back to the zonal format, to prevent teams from travelling too much, or we stick to the previous formula of playing the tournament in neutral bio-bubbles, as was originally planned,” added the source.

The official also said that the competition can be played in few cities where the COVID-19 situation is under control. “The Ranji can even be held in cities and towns where the situation is improving. For example, the number of cases are coming down steadily in Mumbai. Dharamshala and Pondicherry could be a good options,” he added.

Highlighting the importance of red-ball cricket, the official also said the Test team needs “immediate” replacement for under-fire batters Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. Hence, the board has to find a way to conduct Ranji Trophy.

“A major reason why the Ranji Trophy needs to be held is that the supply line to India’s Test team is getting affected majorly. You need immediate replacements for Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara in theTest team. If the Ranji Trophy isn’t there, how do the national selectors know who are the players in form in red ball cricket? The BCCI too is concerned about this fact,” asserted the source.

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