In light of the BCCI asking State Associations for their suggestions, it is believed that the Syed Mushtaq Ali has been unanimously chosen as one competition that states want to play in the truncated season. The associations are, however, yet to decide on the possibility of playing Ranji Trophy.
Earlier this week, the BCCI had written to the State Associations asking them for suggestions as to which tournaments they wanted to play in the forthcoming truncated domestic season. The board gave the associations four options - Only Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, only Ranji Trophy, both Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Ranji Trophy, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy - and asked them to revert back with their decision by December 2.
While there is no clarity on the final decision, it is, however, believed that almost all associations have unanimously agreed to playing the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. It is believed that SMAT is being viewed as an easier tournament to organize, under the current dire circumstances, and a decision on potentially playing the Ranji Trophy could depend on how the short T20 competition plays out.
"It is easier to handle the bio bubble in the shortest format. Hopefully, things should improve in two months before Ranji Trophy commences,” an official in the know told Cricbuzz.
Under the report that emerged earlier this week, the BCCI wanted to host the SMAT in a December 20 - January 10 window, but due to the short turnaround time, which will leave teams with almost no window for preparation, a few state associations have requested the BCCI to hold the competition in January. Saurashtra and Kerala are two state associations that have expressed objections to the SMAT being held in December, citing a lack of preparation time.
"It is indeed immensely challenging to host BCCI's domestic tournament in prevailing situation," Jaydev Shah, SCA secretary, wrote in an email to BCCI.
"Any tournament must start from January 2021 only. This will give enough time to every member association to have the required preparation of teams, etc. Starting from December 2020 could be too early, as we have so far not called any players for training, etc under the prevailing situation.”
"Due to strict government measures cricketing activities are yet to resume. The cricketers are deprived of training and pre-season preparation. Under these circumstances, getting the state team ready for the domestic season by 20th December is unimaginable. The latest any format of the domestic tournament should begin is from 1st week of January 2021,” said the Kerala Cricket Association.
However, while associations are in agreement over playing the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, there has been no clarity as to whether the tournament will be played as a stand-alone, or if it will be succeeded by either the Ranji Trophy or the Vijay Hazare Trophy. As things stand, associations are split over the decision. An official word is expected from the BCCI in the days to come.