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Wasim Jaffer calls for shorter upcoming domestic Cricket season

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Wasim Jaffer, former India opener and a legend of the domestic circuit of Indian Cricket, has come up with the suggestion of jettisoning domestic tournaments like the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the D.B. Deodhar trophy, and the Duleep Trophy this season due to the pandemic in order to conduct the Ranji Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy in full flight.

According to the current Vidarbha batsman and 10 time Ranji Trophy winner, the reason behind the suggestion of such cancellation of tournaments is to ensure that the players get enough breaks and are not rushed into tournaments.

Jaffer spoke to the PTI on Monday about this, saying, “As and when the season commences, whenever cricket starts, the priority is to have the IPL first. The BCCI can look to start with the IPL as the first tournament.”

The BCCI is aiming for the September-October window to schedule the IPL, but that is subject to the fate of the Asia Cup and the ICC T20 World Cup, which are scheduled in the same window. The ACC and the ICC are yet to take a concrete decision about the tournaments.

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Jaffer continued, “Once the IPL finishes, the BCCI can look to start the domestic season with the Irani Trophy (Cup) as Saurashtra deserves to play it as they are first-time champions. Then we can start the Ranji Trophy. And before the (IPL) auction, as and when BCCI keeps the auction for next year’s IPL, we should have the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy and scrap the Vijay Hazare, Duleep Trophy and Deodhar Trophy and use that period to hold these major two tournaments with the adequate breaks for players.”

Jaffer reasoned that the rescheduling will ensure that players will have enough time to prepare. He said, “Rather than rushing all tournaments and players not getting sufficient rest or changing the formats. That is the only thing I feel, use those two months of Vijay Hazare and Duleep trophy. Have sufficient breaks and hold these tournaments only, which are more premium tournaments. And it probably goes into junior level also, try and scrap the ODI tournaments in U-23 or U-19, so that I feel the players will get sufficient breaks and they can look forward to these tournaments.”

Jaffer, who sits on top of the list of most runs in the Ranji Trophy, also stressed on the need for making the road to the quarter finals of the Ranji Trophy tougher. He said, “And one more thing is having Ranji trophy with teams split into groups with nine teams each in A, B and C and three teams qualifying into knockouts from. Three teams from A group, three from B group of elite teams and you can have two teams qualify from the C group, so that makes it eight teams and have the quarter-final among those teams.”

“The D Group (Plate), they should only get the incentive of topping the table to get the promotion into C group. I feel the top team from the D Group shouldn’t be allowed to play the quarter-finals, as that makes the competition a little weak,” said Jaffer, who announced his retirement in March.

In the last season of Ranji Trophy, five teams from combined A and B Groups made it to the quarters, while two teams from Group C and one from Plate Group made the last eight.
Gujarat, who had qualified from Group A and B combined, had faced Pondicherry, who had qualified from Plate Group in the Ranji quarters. Gujarat outplayed Pondicherry to reach the semis, where they suffered defeat to eventual champions Saurashtra.