Duleep Trophy missing from the 2017-2018 domestic calendar.
India has five major domestic tournaments in their domestic calendar namely Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy, Deodhar Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Musthaq Ali tournament.
Recently, BCCI decided to remove the Duleep Trophy from their domestic calendar for the year 2017-2018.
What’s the story?
In a recent statement issued by the advisory committee of the BCCI, it was announced that the Duleep Trophy, one of India’s premier domestic tournaments for over 59 years has been scrapped from the 2017-2018 domestic calendar.
The Duleep Trophy has been a grooming ground for talents across the country. A prestigious tournament which featured prominently alongside the Ranji Trophy and the Deodhar trophy has struggled for its existence in the past few years.
Post the advent of the Indian Premier League (IPL), most youngsters are focusing more on honing their skills for the shorter formats of the game in order to be noticed by one of the franchises.
And in doing so, even the cricket administrators have curtailed the duration of the Duleep Trophy in the previous few years , squeezing in between the end of the Ranji Trophy and the start of the Deodhar Trophy. The Duleep trophy, although a very prestigious tournament has struggled to remain relevant in current times.
The heart of the matter...
The advisory committee of the BCCI decided to scrap the Duleep Trophy this year stating that the Ranji Trophy, followed by the Deodhar Trophy leaves very little time to schedule it.
New Zealand A are scheduled to tour India in September and let’s not forget, the Indian National team’s home season kicks off in full-swing with first the Australians coming in September end followed by the Kiwis and then a full tour with Sri Lanka.
The officials said that almost 31 premier players would be either involved with A series with New Zealand A or playing for India in their international home season. The plan was to introduce pink ball tests for the Duleep Trophy, and administrators wanted even the players part of the national team to be a part of it.
But with the never ending, tight schedule of the Indian cricket team, even that proposed idea fell through. So now after staying in prominence for more than 50 years, the Duleep Trophy has to be shelved from the schedule to accommodate the A series.
The writing was on the wall as far the Duleep trophy to be honest. With emphasis given on the development of the Ranji Trophy by introducing neutral venues so that players across the country can get exposure to varied conditions preparing them for a probably easy transition into the national team when and if they get the call up.
And with the Irani trophy which takes place after the end of the Ranji Trophy, there is no need to have another tournament in the longest format scheduled in the domestic season. Equal importance needs to be given for all the formats so this move although a blow to the purists was required and an expected one at that.
One cannot ignore the importance of the Indian Premiere League( IPL) in modern times. Any aspiring youngster who is a part of a Ranji team would dream to represent the country and also get noticed by one of the franchises from the IPL.
Keeping that in mind the revamping of the Ranji trophy gives them adequate opportunity to play in different conditions, which may be alien to them thus preparing them for bigger and better things.
There was constant criticism that players coming through the domestic system lack the technique to play in different conditions, something which has been addressed now which is a positive sign. So I feel that there isn’t enough need or a requirement to have a tournament like a Duleep trophy anymore.
With players getting exposure to play in the A series which would mold them into much better players as they get to face opponents from different countries and especially now, with the radar completely on the ICC World Cup 2019, this move to remove the Duleep Trophy from the domestic calendar is justified and would do more good than bad for the Indian domestic players.