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BCCI approves Ranji matches at neutral venues

The Board of Control for Cricket in India on Friday (June 24) approved the technical committee’s recommendation to hold the Ranji Trophy matches at neutral venues. The decision was one among the many that were taken at the first Annual BCCI four-day conclave in Dharamsala.

Ranji Trophy-AV
The consensus was that the move should at least be tried for a season, and would help eliminate the possibility of teams churning out rank turners, which saw many games finish inside three days last season. In this new system, a team is likely to play all its games till the knockouts in a particular zone. The wickets at all the venues will be prepared by the curators appointed by the board.

It was also decided that the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy would be scrapped in favour of a new Twenty20 league which will see five zones selecting a zonal side to play an Inter Zonal League. Initially, the state teams will play an league within their zones, and the best players will make the team from that zone. Such a format will reward an in-form player and allow him to continue playing in the tournament, even if his state side fails to win regularly.

The Junior Committee’s suggestion regarding the Under 19 players were also approved by the working committee. Under the new suggestions, an under 19 cricketer can represent India only once in the ICC Under 19 World Cup. Also, any player entering the system at the under 19 stage can only play two seasons of Under 19 cricket. This would ensure a fresh influx of players every year.

The BCCI is also keen on promoting Test Cricket by collaborating with the state units and hence will have a separate marketing budget in the upcoming season. The associations hosting international matches this season will have venue agreements with the BCCI so that their roles, responsibilities and the minimum standards that are required are well defined. The board will also start annual awards for state associations in the following categories: Best Website, Best Facebook page, Best Twitter Handle, Best Instagram, Best Media Facility, Best Media Operations. This will encourage state associations to be more transparent and professional.

Finally, the Media Committee’s proposal to issue an Annual Season Media Accreditation card to journalists wanting to cover cricket games was also approved by the working committee during the meeting. Through this move, the board could screen the applications from journalists only once before the start of a season, and then approve the ones interested for a particular tour, rather than having to go through the entire list ahead of every series.

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