Shah confirms Ranji Trophy to be held in two phases
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah on Friday confirmed that Ranji Trophy will be held in 2022 amid the speculations that the country's top domestic tournament might get canceled again due to the rising cases of COVID-19. He also confirmed the news that it will be organized in two phases around the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022.
Why does it matter?
The league matches will be held in the first phase, which is scheduled to take place in February-March. The second phase is scheduled to take place in June after the conclusion of IPL. It will have knockout games. Earlier, the tournament was scheduled to start on January 13. BCCI was forced to defer it due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in India.
Jay Shah on Ranji's scheduling
"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 on Friday.
Ranji is our most prestigious domestic competition: Shah
"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 contest," he said. "Ranji is our most prestigious competition, which has been providing us with an enviable talent pool. It is absolutely important that we take all necessary steps to safeguard the interest of this premier event," he added.
BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal on Ranji Trophy
BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal confirmed the competition will get underway next month. "We are exploring the possibility of staging Ranji Trophy, cases were going up when it was postponed, now they seem to be coming down. The operations team is working on whether we can do the league stage next month and complete the rest of the tournament later [post IPL]," he told PTI.
Ranji Trophy was canceled last season
The last edition of the Ranji Trophy was held during the 2019-20 season when Saurashtra defeated Bengal in the final to become India's domestic red-ball champion. The tournament was canceled last year as BCCI was able to organize just two domestic tournaments in Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. They compensated for it by paying all first-class players a 50% match fee.
Ravi Shastri's request to BCCI
Former coach Ravi Shastri on Friday urged BCCI to not ignore Ranji as it is the "backbone" of Indian cricket. "The Ranji Trophy is the backbone of Indian cricket. The moment you start ignoring it our cricket will be SPINELESS," he wrote on Twitter.