The players have openly supported the previously followed zonal formats over the present version which includes a random assortment of players in three different teams. They stated that it led players to be self-centric rather than work towards team goals due to not enough bonding with teammates.
India Red were declared champions of the latest season of the Duleep Trophy on Saturday after bowling out India Green for a paltry 119 to earn a victory by an innings and 38 runs. However, the players were a bit dissatisfied with the format that the tournament has followed for the past few seasons, which sees players not getting enough of a chance to bond as a team that is a prerequisite in a sport like cricket.
“For Duleep Trophy, we meet a day before the tournament starts. Gelling around can get difficult. Also, you cannot force things (as captain) on everyone. If I am playing for Vidarbha, I can tell the boys, you have to do this. Here, it gets difficult. They may say no, we will try this and that,” India Green captain Fazal was reported saying by Sportstar.
First established in 1961-62, the tournament used to comprise of five teams representing the different zones of the country until 2016-17. Now, the BCCI selectors announce the squad lists of India Green, India Red, and India Blue shortly before the tournament, with no particular factor used to club the players together. The whole squad usually assembles only a day before the first match.
"I have been telling the boys here in the India Green that we should look to win the tournament, then the best can come from the players. If you try to play for yourself, I don’t think it works because you are being selfish. I am not saying that was there right now, but it can happen with anyone,” he reasoned.
Akshay Wakhare, whose five-wicket-haul won his team the match, also echoed similar thoughts.
“I still feel that the zonal is better because the players know each other and gel with each other soon. Here, you can’t because we are coming for the matches straight away If you are playing for a zone, there are some senior players who can help you, who can tell you what needs to be done. Here, you have to do it on your own. I feel here, everyone is playing more individually. They are doing it for the team, but also for individual goals,” he stated.
However, Fazal opined that even though the present format sees players lack an emotional attachment with each other, it did not have much of an impact on the field.
“Playing for India Red, Green and Blue is a fair call. I think that is better. It would not make much difference,” he signed off.