New Delhi: Despite the Indian cricket board announcing an elaborate schedule for the 2021-22 domestic season that includes Ranji Trophy, some state bodies’ officials are not excited. They say holding 2127 matches, including those in junior tournaments, may not be possible especially since the board had only four days ago announced its inability to host the T20 World Cup — expected to have only 45 matches — due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is funny. Seems like the COVID-19 situation has improved within three days (the announcement of T20 World Cup moving to UAE due to Covid-19 came on June 29 i.e. Tuesday) and the danger of third wave or fourth wave has been averted! Either that, or the cricket board thinks that safety and health of domestic cricketers is not as important as that of international cricketers,” said a senior state body official who did not wished to be identified.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said, in its statement on Saturday, that it is confident of hosting the season taking into regard safety and health of all players. The 2021-22 domestic season will run from September 21 this year to March 26, 2022.
“The BCCI is confident of hosting the domestic season with health and safety of players and all people involved being paramount,” the Board said in its statement.
However, earlier this week-on June 29-both BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah had cited concerns over health and safety of players as reasons behind their inability to host the T20 World Cup in the country.
The official said that if BCCI was so unsure of its ability to keep players from 16 international teams safe, how would it be able to keep players from 38 state teams safe. There are 38 states in men’s senior tournaments and 37 in women’s section.
“It is impractical. We are still not sure if the tournament will get underway. The BCCI has announced 2,127 games. They are too many. If some of the matches get affected by Covid-19, you will have to cancel them, maybe split points and it will make a mockery of the event,” added the official.
Another state association official said that his association is looking at it only as a tentative schedule.
“I will consider it as a tentative schedule only. At best I think we can be sure that they will be able to host limited-overs tournaments only. It is very difficult to host multi-day games. This will require huge effort, especially when we are not sure about the status of COVID-19 in the country,” he said further.
“There is the issue of vaccination,” added another official.
In India, vaccination is open to people above 18 years of age.
“They have also scheduled under-16 tournament — the Vijay Merchant Trophy. How will you get the under-16 players vaccinated. Some of the under-19 players (in the Cooch Behar Trophy) too will be below than 18 years,” said the official.
While the women’s one-day league will start the season, the men’s season will commence with the Syed Mushtaq Ali [T20] Trophy on October 20, 2021. The final will be played on November 12.
The Ranji Trophy, cancelled last season due to the pandemic, will be played from November 16, 2021 to February 19, 2022 while the Vijay Hazare one-dayers will take place from February 23, 2022 to March 26, 2022.
The under-19 Cooch Behar Trophy will be held from November 14, 2021 to Feb 7, 2022. The under-16 Vijay Merchant Trophy will begin on October 1, 2021 and end on Dec 6, 2022.