New format gets thumbs up from Ranji stalwarts

The changes got a thumbs up from former Mumbai stalwarts, Sulakshan Kulkarni, Amol Muzumdar, Praveen Amre and Nilesh Kulkarni, albeit a bit of reservation from Yajurvindra Singh (India Test player of the 1970s), who thought clubbing the weakest teams in Group C would not help improve standards.

Yajurvindra Singh
Former Test cricketer Yajurvindra Singh talks about the changes in India’s domestic cricket tournaments. Praveen Amre and Nilesh Kulkarni are to his left

Speaking at a seminar organised by Sports Journalists Association of Mumbai (SJAM) at the YB Chavan auditorium yesterday, Mumbai coach Kulkarni said: “The changes will do a world of good as cricketers will get more matches to play. Instead of five to six games, all teams will play eight matches.”

However, Yajurvindra felt the purpose won’t be served since Group C will feature all the weaker sides. “The teams in Group C will get to play only with the weaker sides, as a result, some really good performance may be overlooked by the selectors,” said Yajurvindra. Former India left-arm spinner Nilesh Kulkarni was happy with the two-bouncers-per-over rule instead of the erstwhile one-per-over. “It’s a positive step and I hope pitches will also improve,” he said.

Amre hailed the addition of the sixth day, in case there is no first-innings leader even after five days of play. Muzumdar, who played for lower-ranked Assam for two seasons, said: “In Guwahati and other cities, matches invariably start at 10.30 am instead of 9.30 am due to poor visibility and end by 3.30 pm.”

Domestically new...
Following are the changes on India's domestic cricket scene:

Doing away with the Elite and Plate Divisions, now a total of 27 teams will be clubbed in three groups - A B and C. Nine teams in a group, each will get to play eight matches each. Three teams each from Group A and B and two from Group C will proceed to the quarter-finals..

Knockout games to be five-day affairs, with an extra day available to encourage result.

Outright wins will give the teams six points instead of five. Bonus will be awarded in case of an innings/10-wicket wins.

Bowlers will be permitted to bowl two bouncers an over while bowlers will be permitted 12 overs each in one-dayers.

The domestic calendar was changed. The season now will kick-off with the Duleep Trophy while the Irani Cup will be played at the end of the season.

One of the three teams in the Challenger Trophy is the winner of Vijay Hazare Trophy. 

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