Mohammad Kaif unhappy with Ranji matches at neutral venues
Kaif has played 13 Tests and 125 ODIs for India.
The BCCI’s technical committee announced last June that they were going to stage Ranji Trophy matches in neutral venues for the upcoming season. The step was taken to prevent matches being played on turning tracks which usually end the fixtures much before its stipulated time. But former cricketer Mohammad Kaif is disappointed about the particular matter as he feels that the state of pitches should be changed rather than the venues. 29 matches in the last domestic season finished within three days and Kaif feels that the change in venues would have a negative effect as there is going to be no fun playing in front of empty stands.
As per reports from cricbuzz, Kaif said, "Especially last year, the way the associations and the teams approached playing at home, it was not good for Indian cricket. The matches were getting over in two and a half days. That is, basically, you playing on unprepared pitches, trying to make the most of home advantage."
It could be a lifeless match if Mumbai and Bengal play at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, in Bangalore as many Ranji games have taken place with low crowd turnouts. The Ranji final last year between Saurashtra and Mumbai in Pune was played in front of only 100 people.
"With neutral venues, you take out the crowd coming and watching the sport. I remember when I played in Meerut a few years back, the whole stadium was jam packed. Every seat was taken. It was between Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh. Then there was a game in Ghaziabad, Delhi vs UP, where Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli were all playing and from UP, there were Suresh Raina, Praveen Kumar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and myself - it was like playing an international game. But that goes out now," said Kaif admitting that playing on home venues would attract more crowds.
He also feels that some curators should be honest while preparing pitches and having underprepared pitches will have adverse effects on Indian cricketers. "Sometimes, the curators also are not very honest. They should be reporting to the BCCI, not the associations, the state captains or whatever. They should not get influenced. They should be like, 'I was asked to do this kind of duty by the BCCI and I will be very strict about that.' That would be the better idea, to give control to curators and have a guideline," he added.
The 35-year-old said that there is a vast difference between the Indian batting and bowling. India has found suitable replacements for Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman in the likes of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma but have not been able to fill the void left by Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan and Javagal Srinath.
According to the new scheme, curators appointed by the board will be in charge of preparing the pitches at neutral venues.