The BCCI Apex committee met on 17 January to discuss a number of important issues concerning both the domestic and international cricketing calendar in the months to come. The meeting was attended by BCCI President Sourav Ganguly who suffered a cardiac scare a few weeks ago.
Some of the topics of discussion on the agenda included the Ranji Trophy (four day format), the Vijay Hazare Trophy (ODI format), the Indian Premier League (IPL), the women’s domestic cricket season and the upcoming England tour of India.
Ranji Trophy or Vijay Hazare Trophy
Since COVID-19 continues to be a problem in 2021, the BCCI is unable to give Indian cricketers the green light to proceed with a normal domestic cricket season which usually involves the Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (T20) format.
The BCCI gave Indian cricketers the approval to commence the domestic season in 2021 by approving the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy which is currently underway. However, given the issues caused by COVID-19, the BCCI is not confident of hosting both the Ranji Trophy and the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2021.
The BCCI is preparing for the 2021 IPL which is scheduled to take place in March and April 2021. There is no indication as of now if it will take place in India or whether it will once again be held in the UAE. Given the close proximity of the IPL, the BCCI has announced that either the Ranji Trophy or the Vijay Hazare Trophy will be cancelled this year.
While BCCI President Sourav Ganguly is keen for the Ranji Trophy to take place, other BCCI members are in favour of the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Since the BCCI was not able to reach a consensus on the matter, the decision has been delayed for another week.
In the meantime, the BCCI operations team have been asked to come up with the logistics and scheduled for the Ranji Trophy as this will make it easier for the BCCI to review and make a final decision.
Women’s Cricket Will Resume In March
The BCCI’s first priority in 2020 was getting the IPL organized in the midst of the pandemic which it did successfully. The second priority was to get India to Australia and have a successful tour – which has also been accomplish. The third priority was to get the Indian domestic season started in 2021 which is currently underway.
The women’s cricket team felt neglected by the BCCI as they have had very little action in the last 12 months. The BCCI has finally announced that the domestic cricket season for the women’s team will commence in March 2021.
No Crowds For England Tour
England is currently playing in Sri Lanka and getting ready for their tour to India which starts on Feb 5. The BCCI is currently drawing up plans to create a bio-bubble and put in place all of the mandatory standard operating procedures (SOPs) that will allow England’s tour of India to take place smoothly.
The BCCI confirmed that all of the games in India will be played in empty stadiums which will disappoint fans. England has a long tour which comprises of four test matches, followed by 5 T20 games and finishes with three ODIs.
While the BCCI works to get the England tour sorted out and the SOPs finalized, the big concern for Team India is whether they will be able to field a full strength team. India has lost multiple players during the Australia tour who have suffered serious injuries that could rule them out of the England tour.
Some of the players who are currently injured and missing from action include M Shami, J Bumrah, U Yadav, I Sharma, B Kumar, R Jadeja, R Ashwin and H Vihari.