The BCCI is mulling 19 November as tentative date for start of domestic season with Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament but Indian players in various IPL teams won’t be able to play first few rounds due to quarantine protocols in place.
The delay in the beginning of the domestic season due to COVID-19 pandemic means that only Mushtaq Ali trophy and Ranji Trophy (13 December- 10 March) comprising of 245 games (across the formats with 38 teams) will be played.
There will be no Vijay Hazare Trophy, Duleep Trophy or Challenger Series this year and as of now there is no provision for Irani Cup also.
“This is a tentative list that has been prepared and it has gone for approval of president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on condition of anonymity.
While this is a draft schedule, it is being asked how the Indian players, who will return from IPL, will play since they will have to be in a 14-day quarantine as per government rules.
“That’s an issue primarily for the uncapped players, who would be with the squad and would like to play some cricket. Now even a player’s team is knocked out before play-offs, he won’t be back before 3 November and till 17 November will be in quarantine.
“For those whose teams are in play-offs and may reach finals, they will have to miss the first few rounds in that case. But again this is a draft proposal and there could be some tweaks in it,” the official said.
However with BCCI expecting to conduct the next IPL in India, starting end of March or early April, it is imperative that they keep a three-week window between Ranji final and beginning of IPL which will help the domestic stars recover after hectic tournament.
While there were speculations that Ranji Trophy will go back to the zonal format, the official said that it is out of question.
“The basic idea to stop of Zonal system was to ensure that there is uniformity in competition. So we will continue with our group league format but with a change,” he said.
It is learnt that unlike the last two years where five teams with most points qualified from group A and B, this year, top two teams from group A, B and C (eight team groups) will qualify for quarter-finals.
The seventh quarter-finalist team will be the best third placed team (in terms of quotient) from all three groups.
The eighth team will be the winner of a play-off game between champions of group D (comprising minnows and relegated teams) and group E (six North East teams).