Ravichandran Ashwin reacts to Ajinkya Rahane’s suggestion on 5-day Ranji Trophy matches: “Saurashtra proved how useful 5-day games can be”
Team India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has reacted to Ajinkya Rahane’s views that all Ranji Trophy matches should be five-day affairs. He stated that Saurashtra proved in the Ranji Trophy 2022-23 quarter-final against Punjab why five-day games can make a big difference.
As of now, group-stage matches in India’s premier domestic competition are four-day clashes, with only the knockouts being played over five days. Speaking after Mumbai’s exit from the Ranji Trophy 2022-23 in the group stage, skipper Rahane opined that all Ranji games should be played over five days.
Sharing his views on Rahane’s thoughts, Ashwin brought up the Saurashtra-Punjab quarter-final result. He explained while speaking on his YouTube channel:
“As soon as Rahane made the statement, Saurashtra proved how useful 5-day games can be to come back. Saurashtra conceded the lead in the first innings, but were able to set a target for Punjab. How were they able to do that? Because this was a five-day match. If this was a 4-day match, the umpires would have dislodged bails and shook hands for a draw.
“Since it was a 5-day game, Saurashtra were able to give a 250-260 target. This begs the question. We play a Test match for 5 days. And almost all Test matches give us result these days. So, the first-class players, who are preparing to play Test cricket, will they be better equipped if they play 5-day games in their first-class cricket as well?"
Saurashtra batted first in the quarter-final in Rajkot and put up 303 on the board. In response, hundreds from Prabhsimran Singh and Naman Dhir led Punjab to 431. Saurashtra fought back and posted 379 in their second innings. They then bowled out Punjab for 180, registering a 71-run win to book their place in the Ranji Trophy 2022-23 semi-final.
“In four-day games, on flat decks, you don't really get results” - Ajinkya Rahane
Stressing the need for five-day Ranji Trophy matches, Rahane stated that it is difficult to eke out a result on flat tracks in four days. The former India vice-captain explained:
"In four-day games, on flat decks, you don't really get results. We tried to get as many results as possible, but it becomes challenging. In five-day cricket, that will happen more frequently. I don't know how it can be fit into the calendar, but five-day cricket will make domestic cricketers get used to the rigors of first-class cricket."
The 34-year-old stated that adding a day to Ranji Trophy group games will be a good way to prepare domestic players for the rigors of Test cricket. Rahane elaborated:
"How to survive sessions, how to be disciplined with the ball, all these factors can be taken care of if we play all Ranji Trophy games over five days. Anyway, the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final are five-day games. If it's implemented in the league [stage], nothing like that."
Mumbai needed a first-innings lead in their last group match against Maharashtra to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Ranji Trophy 2022-23. However, the first-innings scores of both teams were tied (384).
Subsequently, Mumbai needed an outright win to qualify. The match ended in a draw, giving Andhra a backdoor entry into the knockouts.
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Renin Wilben Albert