Duleep Trophy back on the 2017-18 domestic calendar
With help from the COA and Sourav Ganguly, the Duleep Trophy is back on the 2017-18 calendar.
What’s the story?
Four days earlier, it was reported that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has left out the Duleep Trophy from the 2017-18 domestic calendar. However, it has now been confirmed that the first-class cricket tournament will be played like every year after the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) reiterated that it was an ‘important’ competition.
"We were told that Duleep Trophy was not on the [domestic] schedule, but we thought it is an important engagement and should not be dropped so we have asked them to restore it. And, it has been restored," CoA chairman Vinod Rai told ESPNcricinfo.
Earlier, former India captain Sourav Ganguly had also written to BCCI, asking them to not scrap off the tournament.
"I am reading in the media that Duleep Trophy has not or may not take place this season. I don't know [if] that's true or not but if you remember, the members of the technical committee had agreed to use pink balls again for the Duleep matches and the tournament was supposed to be held in the same format as last year," Ganguly's letter read.
In case you didn’t know...
Earlier, a BCCI official had told ESPNcricinfo the Duleep Trophy wasn't an annual fixture and was held once in a year-and-a-half. Due to India’s busy international schedule this year, they planned to organize the tournament later next year.
The first-class competition, named after Kumar Shri Duleepsihnji of Nawanagar, is being played since 1961.
The heart of the matter
The board has now denied receiving any letter from Ganguly, and on being contacted said that the tournament was never planned to be scrapped. BCCI officials have also confirmed that Duleep Trophy will be played at the start of the domestic season and will also overlap with India’s international fixtures.
Last year, India Blue beat India Red in the finals by 355 runs.
Since India’s limited-overs series against Australia begins September 17, the duration of Duleep trophy will be curtailed. Like last year, the 2017-18 season will also be played with the pink ball.
If out of favour batsmen like Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh play the tournament, it can turn into their best chance to prove their mettle for selection in the upcoming overseas tours.