The fate of India’s premier domestic event, Ranji Trophy, remained undecided but the BCCI Apex Council on Sunday gave its approval to begin women’s cricket season in the country from March. India will also host New Zealand ahead of the men’s ICC T20 World Cup in October-November which will be held in India.
The New Zealand tour of India was scheduled after the T20 World Cup but the BCCI is reportedly keen on having it prior to the event. According to New Indian Express, India will also host South Africa in October as part of preparations for the World Cup.
India’s domestic season, which was delayed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, finally took off earlier this month with the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy. The tournament is being played in a bio-secure bubble.
A decision on Ranji Trophy was expected to be taken in the meeting on Sunday but the members could not find a consensus, despite BCCI president Sourav Ganguly batting firmly for the prestigious first-class tournament.
“The president remains committed to Ranji Trophy but a few others were not on the same page and wanted to host Vijay Hazare Trophy instead (50-over event). The operations team has been asked to work on the logistics for Ranji Trophy, which is obviously a much bigger challenge in the current circumstances,” a BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
“It will be either Ranji Trophy or Vijay Hazare and it will be decided by the end of next week,” the official said.
With the IPL likely to be played in the in March-April window, the Board is finding it tough to slot in the first-class tournament.
Women’s cricket too was discussed at length and in a development which will be music to the ears of top cricketers, the domestic season will probably start from March with senior cricket.
The BCCI has also approached Sri Lanka and South Africa to resume international cricket for the national women’s team which has been starved of action since the T20 World Cup final in March. It will be a home series and likely to be played in February.
“It is likely to be a full fledged domestic season for women and there will be finally some cricket for our international stars with Sri Lanka and South Africa coming to India,” the official added.
The BCCI will also continue to push for tax exemption by the government for the men’s T20 World Cup, scheduled in October-November.
(With inputs from PTI)