Saurashtra’s 2019-20 Ranji Trophy-winning coach Karsan Ghavri calls for a combination of two national championships winners to compete against Rest of India in October’s Irani Cup fixture
Rest of India and then Ranji champions Mumbai fight it out during the Irani Cup match at Brabourne Stadium in 2016. Pic/MiD-DAY Archives
Karsan Ghavri, the former India all-rounder and coach of Saurashtra’s 2019-20 Ranji Trophy-winning outfit, wants the Irani Cup to be contested between the Rest of India and a combination of Ranji champions—his 2019-20 team and Madhya Pradesh, the latest winners in the national championships.
The Irani Cup, instituted in 1959-60 and named after ZR Irani, the BCCI’s first treasurer, who went on to be their vice-president and president, is scheduled to be held this year from October 1 to 5 at an undecided venue.
This year’s fixture would herald the return of the important game after three years. The break was caused due to the pandemic, which had just struck India as the Saurashtra were playing Bengal in the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy final at Rajkot.
Saurashtra claimed the silverware for the final, but the pandemic crushed the possibility of conducting the Irani Cup. “I think it is only fair that the BCCI picks a combined squad consisting seven Saurashtra players and an equal number from the 2021-22 Ranji Trophy-winning Madhya Pradesh team,” Ghavri told mid-day on Friday.
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The national selectors could pick the final XI as well, reckoned Ghavri. It has to be seen if the powers that be take note of the ex-India star’s suggestion and come up with an unprecedented move.
The last Irani Cup match was held in the 2018-19 season when the Rest of India clashed with the then reigning champions Vidarbha at Nagpur. The hosts led by Faiz Fazal won on the basis of first innings lead.
Ghavri, 71, figured in five Irani Cup ties. He represented the Rest of India in 1973-74 and 1980-81 while he wore Mumbai colours in the remaining three (1975-76, 1976-77 and 1981-82). His five wickets for Mumbai in the second innings of the 1975-76 game helped dismiss the Rest for 212 as Sunil Gavaskar lifted the cup for Mumbai.