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Ranji Trophy unlikely for second straight season due to COVID-19

Eight State Associations requested BCCI to conduct Ranji Trophy 2021-22

Ranji Trophy unlikely for second straight season due to COVID-19
Ranji Trophy was earlier scheduled to begin from January 13 (Photo Credit: PTI)

India’s primary first-class tournament, Ranji Trophy, is all but set to be scrapped for the second successive season after the country has witnessed a significant rise in COVID-19 cases over the past two months.

The 2022 edition of Ranji Trophy was scheduled to begin on January 13 but just before India’s premier domestic tournament would get underway, several players tested positive for COVID-19.

If reports are to be believed, seven members of the Bengal team tested positive for COVID-19 at the start of the year, which saw the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) postponing the red-ball tournament.

Eight State Associations request BCCI to conduct Ranji Trophy

Several state associations have requested the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to consider holding the Ranji Trophy this season.

According to a report in the New Indian Express, around eight state associations requested the board to conduct the tournament. However, the board hasn't given a nod yet, given the short window before the start of the 15th edition of the IPL.

The board will require around 75 days to complete a Ranji season and with IPL starting from March 27 and going on till May-end, the window seems highly unlikely.

“The BCCI does not want to compromise the safety of the players, support staff, match officials and other participants involved and hence, has decided to put the three tournaments on hold till further notice. The BCCI will continue to assess the situation and take a call on the start of the tournaments accordingly,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah had issued a statement on January 4.

“BCCI thanks and continues to appreciate the efforts of the healthcare workers, state associations, players, support staff, match officials and all the service providers who put their best foot forward to host more than 700 matches across 11 tournaments in the current 2021-22 domestic season,” Shah further added in his statement.

BCCI trying best to organize Ranji Trophy

“Provided the COVID-19 situation stays in control, we are keen, hopeful and trying our best to organize the Ranji Trophy. If we start the Ranji Trophy by, say February 10, we can complete the league phase in a month, well ahead of the IPL. The knockouts can be played post the IPL,” a source was quoted as saying by the Times of India.

“We are thinking of two options: Either go back to the zonal format, to prevent teams from travelling too much, or we stick to the previous formula of playing the tournament in neutral bio-bubbles, as was originally planned,” added the source.

Although BCCI initially decided to postpone the Ranji Trophy for just 15 days, with the rising COVID-19 cases across most of the cities in India, the chances of organizing the red-ball tournament is highly unlikely in the current scheme of things.

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