BCCI left red-faced after mixing up Ranji Trophy quarter-final draw
What's the story?
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was left red-faced after the Vidarbha Cricket Association pointed out an error in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final draw booklet that had been circulated to the eight teams that progressed beyond the group stages.
The 2017-18 format of the Ranji Trophy has 28 teams being divided into four groups consisting of seven sides each with the group toppers facing the second-placed team in the other quarter.
However, as per the booklet containing the quarter-final draw that was issued to the teams, defending champions and Group B toppers Gujarat were marked to play against Group D toppers Vidharbha and it was left to the latter to notify the BCCI of the error.
“There was an error in the original draw but the handbook also specified that if the last year's finalists made it to the knockouts, they will have to be placed in separate halves. While accommodating it, eventually the BCCI has managed to avoid any two group toppers facing each other in a quarterfinal match,” a BCCI official told Sportstar.
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The group stage fixtures of the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy season came to an end on Tuesday with Kerala sealing a historic first-ever quarter-final berth in history while both the finalists from the previous campaign - Mumbai, and Gujarat - also made it through.
With the Ranji Trophy format stipulating that the two finalists will have to be placed in separate halves of the draw should the above-mentioned scenario take place, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the BCCI as they were able to rectify the faulty draw they had initially circulated.
The heart of the matter
Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Vidarbha topped Groups A, B, C and D respectively at the end of the group stage fixtures while Delhi, Kerala, Mumbai, and Bengal had to be content with the runners-up spot in their respective groups.
While the BCCI got the quarter-final draw spot on as per the schedule announced on Tuesday, the booklet that was circulated among the eight teams painted a different picture with two group-toppers Gujarat and Vidharbha slated to meet each other.
The BCCI were quick in resolving the issue once the matter was brought to their notice and in also adhering to the stipulation that the two defending finalists should be placed in opposite halves of the draw, worked out the quarter-finals draw as follows:
Quarter Final 1: Gujarat(B1) vs Bengal(D2)
Quarter Final 2: Delhi(A2) vs Madhya Pradesh(C1)
Quarter Final 3: Kerala(B2) vs Vidharbha(D1)
Quarter Final 4: Mumbai(C2) vs Karnataka(A1)
Jaipur, Mulapadu, Surat and Nagpur will be hosting the four quarter-final fixtures which will be played from December 7 to 11.
While the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai is expected to host the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy final, a final call on the semi-final venues is yet to be taken. However, Sachin Bajaj, a Cricket Club of India executive committee member, announced in a press conference that the Brabourne Stadium has been allotted a semifinal as well.
It is difficult to ascertain how the BCCI managed to mix up the draw and the fact that it came to their notice only after one of the teams pointed to the glitch, puts the national cricket board in an embarrassing situation no doubt.
Looking on the bright side, it is good to see that the BCCI has acknowledged the error and taken swift corrective action.