Domestic cricket needs a fillip

The reason why Australian cricket is healthy, alive and kicking is because of their good domestic cricket set-up. It may not be what it was in the golden years when quality players were churned out with amazing alacrity, but even the sharpest of critics have to credit the administrators Down Under for their good intentions.

Compare this scenario with Indian cricket which is not short of talent, but falls short when it comes to administrators with vision. The ‘tour, programme & fixture committee’ of which politician and Delhi and District Cricket Association’s chief Arun Jaitley is chairman, has much to answer for following their decision to let the all-important Ranji Trophy final (January 26–30) clash with the last one-day international between India and England at Dharamsala on January 27.

As it is, top players are not available for most Ranji Trophy matches as well as other important tournaments organised by the BCCI, but the least administrators can do is to maintain the importance of the national championship’s final. It is to be seen whether Saurashtra’s Cheteshwar Pujara and Mumbai’s Rohit Sharma will be relieved of their duties in the India squad to help their state teams win the biggest domestic reward in longer form of the game. If not, it would only be right to believe that the authorities are being dogmatic.

That the Ranji Trophy format deserves to be reviewed is a different story. Mumbaites will be delighted that the city’s team has entered the tournament’s final for the 44th time, but nothing should take away from the fact that Mumbai have made it to the summit clash by virtue of only one outright win. The BCCI should also investigate why batsmen have dominated a lot of games. Batting paradises will not only kill bowlers, it will also destroy the soul of fair cricket.

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