The Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) finds itself in a spot of bother for the first time since its inception. Apart from the inability to unconditionally apply the Lodha Panel recommendations, cricket's national governing body's legitimacy has been repeatedly questioned over the past year. In another relatively shocking development, one of India's longest-running cricket competitions, the Ranji Trophy, could be witnessing its final season of existence.
According to sources close to Sportskeeda, as many as 18 member associations have expressed their inability to host the tournament from its next round of fixtures. Our source said, “The verdict today could likely highlight the lack of fund distribution within the state associations, which the Lodha panel has been harping about for a while now. For a sport, which has so much money, the lack of funds within individual states is appalling, to say the least. States such as Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh are essentially running cricket on penny stocks. It will be very difficult for the tournament to enter the third day itself, after the verdict.”
Considering the high profile nature of the tournament, even other subsidiary scheduled events are going to be affected. According to our source, the upcoming junior state cricket league is all but over. He said, “The U-19 and U-16 Championship cannot be conducted because the state association hosting it doesn't have any funds too. This would essentially mean all major domestic tournaments will come to a stop. Apart from the ones where the state associations themselves are funding it. But, if 18 of them cite lack of funds as a major problem, these tournaments will only be a handful.”
The BCCI has refused to apply the Lodha panel recommendation, with the SC vowing to take strict action today. Senior BCCI official Kapil Sibal also confirmed to Sportskeeda that the ongoing Ranji Trophy is in jeopardy. He said, “Let's be honest, if there is no BCCI there is no cricket tournament. So now that the tournament has begun, it's very difficult for me to say that all is okay. Yes, it is a possibility that the 2016 season could be cancelled. I cannot comment further on the issue, till the verdict is announced.”
A verdict on the issue is expected by 16:00 hours IST today.