2016-17 Ranji trophy may be played on only neutral venues if BCCI has its way

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2016-17 Ranji trophy may be played on only neutral venues if BCCI has its way

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Arun S Kaimal

05/30/2016

In a bid to put a stop to home teams winning Ranji matches on heavily doctored pitches, the BCCI Technical Committee has recommended that matches be played on neutral venues. The move has received mixed responses with some welcoming while others point to negligible crowd turnouts if implemented.

The Ranji trophy matches last year had come under intense criticism after multiple matches ended within two days. Rahul Dravid had come out against the phenomenon earlier saying, "A lot of people criticise and say Ranji Trophy [knockout] matches should be held in home venues of teams," he said. "But if teams resort to doing these kind of things, then I think it is better the knockout matches are staged in neutral venues,” reported ESPNcricinfo.

In a welcome move, the BCCI Technical Committee has put forward recommendations that would add more credence to the country's premier domestic tournament. The recommendations will be put forward to the BCCI, which will have to ratify these before they can come into effect.

Karnataka coach J Arun Kumar welcomed the panel's recommendation. "Apart from not having the home-crowd advantage and the home-pitch advantage, I don't see anything wrong in that," Arun Kumar told ESPNcricinfo. "There have been a lot of problems in the past with home-team advantage [resulting in] very bad wickets. Not having crowd support is the only setback but otherwise I think it's a very fair move."

However, Assam coach Sanath Kumar was against it, citing potential zero turnouts if matches are held in neutral territory. "I don't think anybody will now come and watch. [Playing games at home mean] at least a few fans will come and support the team," he said. "It will be like a knockout match where hardly anybody is watching the game. Instead of this recommendation, they could have had a [neutral] curator to prepare the pitches. That would have been an easier solution," reported ESPNcricinfo.

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