Chandrakant Pandit feels that youngsters, after securing fat IPL checks, often lose their head and believes that they would need to be exposed to two years of first-class cricket before given an IPL opportunity. Pandit feels Ranji performances should be considered as important as IPL cameos.
Ever since the inception of the Global T20 extravaganza that is the IPL in 2008, Ranji Trophy has lost its accolade as the premier competition in the country. Be it Ravichandran Ashwin or Hardik Pandya or Jasprit Bumrah, the IPL has helped team India unearth many a star and thus, the quality and the eye-catchy nature of the tournament has served as a bait to youngsters, with them eyeing it as a launching pad for national selection.
However, this has also meant that the stock of the Ranji Trophy has considerably dropped, with the tournament no more being considered ‘very important’ and, over the past few years, there have been accusations of the top Ranji performers being overlooked time and again.
Newly appointed Madhya Pradesh coach Chandrakant Pandit, however, has a solution to the problem. Pandit has suggested for players to complete a minimum of two years in first-class cricket to be eligible for playing in the IPL and this, he feels, would restore the importance of the premier four-day competition.
“Domestic cricket should be respected. Young players we want to develop for Test cricket and days cricket should not be given immediate opportunity in the Indian Premier League (IPL). With one or two good IPL innings, they tend to get selected to the Indian team, while those who have been performing well in domestic cricket for years miss out,” Pandit told TOI.
“There should be a rule that until you play a minimum of two years of first-class cricket, you shouldn't be allowed to play IPL. This way, Indian cricket will sustain itself in both the longer and shorter formats. Ranji Trophy performances should be as important as IPL cameos. Cricketers these days feel, 'If I don't play Ranji Trophy it's okay but I should play T20 because there are many who watch.'
Pandit, who recently coached Vidarbha to back-to-back Ranji titles, also feels that there’s currently a dangerous perception amongst fans that certain players cannot excel in the longer formats. The 58-year-old pointed towards the example of Cheteshwar Pujara, stating that it’s not the case, and attested that adapting to the rigours of each format is the single most vital factor in mastering them.
“There are perceptions that players who play well in the longer format can't be effective in the shorter formats. Take Cheteshwar Pujara. Just because he plays well in Test cricket doesn't mean he can't play shorter versions. Both formats have their own challenges and one has to look at how players can adapt to different formats.”
Pandit further batted for the idea of BCCI rewarding 3-4 players from every domestic team with contracts and stated that the idea might invoke healthy competition amongst the players.
“If the BCCI can give contracts to three-four performers from every team, it will provide motivation to all to do better in the Ranji Trophy.
“ Every player will know there are certain rewards attached to performance. The competition will increase and the pool will widen. Every player will aim to be in that contract list.”