BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal on Thursday said that the board intends to hold the Ranji Trophy 2022 in “two phases” after they were forced to postpone the premier first-class competition due to rising cases of COVID-19 in the country. The First-Class tournament was supposed to begin on January 13 but was postponed after Covid outbreaks in several teams’ camps.
The third wave of Covid-19 fueled by the Omicron variant of the virus led to the indefinite postponement of not only the 38-first-class teams Ranji Trophy tournament but other tournaments such as the Col. CK Nayudu Trophy and the Women’s senior Challenger Trophy was also postponed keeping the safety of the players in the mind.
With the BCCI planning to start the IPL from March 27, it is practically impossible to hold the tournament in one go but after requests from many state units, the brass held a meeting to discuss the way forward.
“We are exploring the possibility of staging Ranji Trophy, cases were going up when it was postponed, now they seem to be coming down. The operations team is working on whether we can do the league stage next month and complete the rest of the tournament later (post-IPL),” Dhumal told PTI after a meeting which also featured BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah.
BCCI Exploring All Possibilities To Stage The Ranji Trophy Without Putting Safety Of Players In Risk: Arun Dhumal
However, the current focus of the Indian board is to not starve the domestic cricketers of any action, and BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal said that the plan is to hold the league phase for a month, starting in February till March, and then have the next phase in June-July when the monsoon starts in a lot of parts of India with peak summer in some other parts.
“The operations team will work out the logistics and factor in the weather, venue availability as well as availability of players. We are very keen to organise the tournament and that is why we are exploring all possibilities to stage it without compromising players’ safety,” Dhumal added.
The pandemic played spoilsport last season as the BCCI only had the two men’s white-ball tourneys (Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy). The board paid 50 percent of the earlier match fees as compensation to all first-class cricketers who have endured financial losses.