Jay Shah said "absolutely important that we take all necessary steps to safeguard the interest of this premier event".
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah has confirmed that the board has decided to conduct the Ranji Trophy this season in two phases. He further added that the BCCI is working closely on the biosecure bubble and other health protocols to avoid any kind of risk associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shah revealed that the first phase likely to be held in February-March will have all league matches while the second phase with knockouts will be organized in June.
"The Board has decided to conduct the Ranji Trophy this season in two phases. In the first phase, we plan to complete all matches of the league stage while the knockouts will be held in June. My team is working closely to mitigate any kind of health risk caused by the pandemic, while at the same time ensuring a highly competitive red-ball cricket contest," Shah was quoted as saying by The Hindu.
"Ranji Trophy is our most prestigious domestic competition, which has been providing Indian Cricket with an enviable talent pool every year. It is absolutely important that we take all necessary steps to safeguard the interest of this premier event," added Shah.
The Ranji Trophy was last held in the 2019-20 season when Vidarbha lifted the trophy, before getting cancelled for two straight seasons, after the dreadful COVID-19 virus hit the world.
Earlier, former Team India head coach Ravi Shastri, on Friday, shared a message on social media, saying that the Ranji Trophy is the backbone of Indian cricket and the premier domestic red-ball tournament should not be ignored.
"The Ranji Trophy is the backbone of Indian cricket. The moment you start ignoring it, our cricket will be SPINELESS," tweeted Shastri.
The 2021-22 season of the Ranji Trophy was originally scheduled to start from January 13 but the BCCI later announced that season has been postponed indefinitely due to rising cases of COVID-19.
Notably, the 2020-21 season of Ranji Trophy was cancelled due to the pandemic and that was the first time in the history of the tournament that it had to be cancelled ever since its inception in the 1943-35 season.
The BCCI disbursed longstanding Covid compensation (50% of the earlier match fees) for domestic players. They were paid 50% of match fees for tournaments missed due to the pandemic.
Ranji Trophy is called backbone of Indian cricket for many reasons. If not held again this year, it will severely affect the BCCI as well as the players.