1) The Indian domestic calendar has been shuffled yet again– this time, to split the Ranji trophy between the shorter format games. Moving the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy (domestic T20 competition) prior to the IPL is only going to make a few more millionaires which will get more tongues wagging on the proliferation of T20 cricket. Adding to this is the scrapping of the Duleep Trophy, which, along with the Irani Cup was the barometer of success of a domestic player aiming for a test berth. The BCCI maintain that the rejig was due to the T20 world cup to be held in March 2016. The BCCI missed a trick by not paying lip service to the test match brigade by quoting Venkatesh Prasad’s concerns with winter season matches in North India.
2) The suspension of the two IPL team owners by the Lodha committee has put the BCCI in a quandary. Considering the incestuous nature of cricket in India, it is not surprising that they’ve not exactly gone through their paces to ban the team owners. One can imagine hordes of lawyers poring through the pages of the report at the team offices to look for grammatical inconsistencies and legalese to find a way out of the judgement. It would have been very interesting to see BCCI’s response in an alternate universe where any two team owners would have been banned with one change- CSK not being one of them. Elsewhere, Mukul Kesavan has been scathing in his criticism about the high command culture at BCCI.
3) Kolkata is hosting the 2016 world T20 final– this must be welcome news for the fans who were given the short shrift during the 2011 World cup. Of course, the fans have done their part as well, keeping away from test cricket in Eden Gardens in the last few years. This is a T20 match however- expect nothing short of a human rights violation in the queue for tickets.
4) Fringe players waiting on the sidelines and past favourites looking to make a comeback are in the fray in the India A home series and the recently concluded Zimbabwe tour. Wisden has profiled Pujara, who is biding his time post a county cricket stint and an IPL & ODI cricket rejection. He and a couple of others would do well by staking their claim in the series.
5) The Champions league T20 has been done away with sans controversy and unsurprisingly, no one seems to be crying any tears about its demise in India. One would suspect the foreign teams would be ruing the financial losses due to culling of this tournament. The official reason given for this is the lukewarm fan response. At this blog, we had written why the tournament was a pale shadow of its illustrious footballing namesake and had offered suggestions on which route the CLT20 should take in order to make it the premier T20 tournament of the cricketing world. Given the present difficulties and the crowded cricket calendar, we feel that no one is going to venture into this space in a hurry in the near future.