Daily Archives: 9 February 2007

Revamping the Indian Domestic Competition…

[I had blogged this in my other blog, but I decided to re-post it here today].

In recent times, I have heard many people suggesting that the Indian Domestic Competition needs an overhaul.

A good first-step was taken a few years ago, thanks to a movement led by Sunil Gavaskar. The traditional zonal-manner in which the Ranji Trophy tournament was organised up until then was scrapped (the zonal format has been persisted with for the one-day championship, by the way!). After Sunil Gavaskar’s intervention, we saw the Ranji league divided into two leagues:

* the Super League consisting of 15 teams in two divisions of 8 and 7 each, and
* the Plate League consisting of 13 teams in two divisions of 7 and 6 each.

It is not clear why the Super League has two divisions of 8 and 7 each. It is also not clear why the Plate league has two imbalanced divisions of 7 and 6 each. Some things are best left without much questioning, I guess!

This was a good first step.

However, I do not believe that this format will throw up top-notch cricketers of the future. Indian cricket continues to be vibrant and strong at the grass-roots level. The maidan, area, sub-district and district level league competitions are strong and vibrant. Talent is nurtured at these levels. The poor facilities (dust bowl grounds and sorry pitches) do not encourage physical flexibility/agility and good fielding habits. But this is all changing — slowly, but perceptibly.

Where India loses out is at the elite level.

If we see the Australian scene there are a few teams that slug it out in a near-International-standard cricket competition. The main reason is that the Ranji leagues have too many teams. The better players emerge from a competition with only a few teams that slug it out. The best players need to play against each other. This is why the Australian league is one of the strongest.

So, here is a suggestion on a revamp of the system:

While I can understand the need for teams like Orissa, Assam and Bihar to participate in the national competition, we need to assemble a competition with fewer and better teams to slug it out. A smaller and stronger competition will unearth the best players.

After the Ranji competition is completed, why not create two Super-Six Divisions?

The First Super-Six Division will consist of the top-6 teams from the Super-League — three from each Division. We could get them to play a home-away Ranji-Super-Six-Championship-League.

The Second Super-Six Division will decide who gets relegated to the Plate Division. The bottom 4 teams from the Super-League and the top 2 teams from the Plate Division can play in the Second Super-Six Division. We could get them to slug it out in a home-away league to decide who gets relegated (2 bottom teams) and who stays in the Super league (top 4).

A change is required to unravel the best players in Indian domestic cricket. This is but one suggestion…

— Mohan

Munaf Patel – Dennis Lillee does not want a McGrath for India!

Munaf Patel

Today’s Hindu carries a report on Munaf Patel in which Dennis Lillee says “India should use Munaf Patel as an attacking option instead of a corridor bowler.

What the report does not say is that if Munaf Patel, who bowled so well in the West Indies in India’s series of the Windies in 2006, develops even more as a corridor bowler, India will have a McGrath in its ranks!

Lillee claims that Munaf can bowl at speeds of 140 kmph regularly.

I had a brief look at Munaf Patel in yesterday’s aborted game in Kolkata. He seemed fitter than he was in South Africa. He picked up 2 wickets, bowled at a brisk average pace of 135-136 kmph touching 140 kmph at times.

Now what I do not understand is that if Munaf bowls consistently in the corridor and at brisk speeds of 135 kmph and above is it not an attacking option? What is this attacking option Lillee is talking about? Charge in and bang the ball on all the unresponsive pitches, get hit all over the place and get thrown out of the Indian team?