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Ridiculous to conduct Ranji final at neutral venue

The Board of Control of Cricket in India’s (BCCI) so-called wisdom of hosting the recently-concluded Ranji Trophy final at a neutral venue is a perfect example of, to use a cricketing term, playing down the wrong line

The Board of Control of Cricket in India’s (BCCI) so-called wisdom of hosting the recently-concluded Ranji Trophy final at a neutral venue is a perfect example of, to use a cricketing term, playing down the wrong line.

Apparently, the need to induce neutrality is at the heart of this decision by Indian cricket’s think tank. Sure, there should be a high degree of fairness in a contest, but playing the finals of the national championship with no home support for one of the two teams is ridiculous.

The Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal, Hyderabad, where the final was held, was bereft of spectators and this should have not been surprising. Why would the Hyderabadis travel all the way to Uppal to watch Karnataka or Maharashtra?

On the one hand, the BCCI promotes the Indian Premier League as a domestic tournament whose teams put a lot of emphasis in creating a fan base.

Likewise, the Ranji Trophy final should have something in it for the home fans.

Doubtless, Karnataka would have enjoyed their seventh Ranji Trophy title more, had they achieved it in front of their home crowd. And probably, Maharashtra would have come up with a better performance, had they played on home territory with the crowds rooting for them.

It’s high time the BCCI injects some interest-creating factors in their non-IPL domestic tournaments. Bad enough, the top players are invariably on national duty whenever the Ranji Trophy final or the Irani Cup is played out. When will Indian cricket fans witness teams playing domestic finals with their full sides?

Fortunately, the Irani Cup will be held in Bangalore, where Karnataka will take on Harbhajan Singh’s Rest of India from February 9, so cricket fans in the Garden City will enjoy some solace after missing out on watching their team win the Ranji Trophy.

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