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BCCI should focus on domestic cricket too: Dilip Vengsarkar | Cricket News – Times of India

MUMBAI: Former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar has joined a growing list of people who feel that the BCCI isn’t bothered about looking after the domestic cricketers, preferring to retain its focus on its multi-million dollar baby, the IPL, all the time.
“What is the road map for the domestic cricketers that the Board has in mind? Due to the pandemic, many talented hopefuls have been denied the opportunity to showcase their talent and stake a claim in the national team. The BCCI must keep the second string ready in case of injuries or lack of form of established players,” Vengsarkar, a former chief selector, told TOI on Thursday.
The 116-Test veteran backed India’s discarded pacer Jaydev Unadkat’s suggestion that the top 30 cricketers of a state should have a contract with the state association. “I think it is a valid point. Why not? The domestic cricketers suffered badly in the pandemic, they must be compensated appropriately. You’ve to invest in domestic cricket – you get quality cricketers only from there. It’s very disappointing that the BCCI is thinking about nothing else but completing the IPL in UAE,” lamented the former India and skipper.
Vengsarkar recommended that the Board must organise a few domestic tournaments like the Irani Cup and the Duleep Trophy (in a bio-secure environment due to covid) in Karnataka at the moment to ensure that India have sufficient back-up during their England tour, which will see them play six Tests.
“Now is the time you must think about playing the Irani Cup and the Duleep Trophy in a bio-secure environment. You can play in Karnataka. The grounds everywhere there – in Bangalore, Shimoga, Mysuru – are excellent, beautiful. At this time of the year, it rains everywhere in India except in these places, where the weather is fantastic right now. So why not organise these tournaments there? We could play just the Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare Trophy last season, but we didn’t have any red-ball tournament last season. The domestic players also expect to perform and get into India’s Test match squad. Importantly, those who’re playing in England – whether they’re injured or out of form – can be replaced with those who’re doing well in these domestic tournaments. Otherwise, what will be your criteria to judge the form and fitness of a cricketer, in case someone needs to be replaced? You have to watch domestic cricket for that,” explained Vengsarkar.
He opined that there was no point in organising the Irani Cup and the Duleep Trophy late in the season. “These are your most important domestic tournaments. If you hold them in March-April, there’s no point, because then everybody’s looking forward to the IPL. Then, it becomes an exercise in futility. This (when the England tour is on, or the beginning of the season) is the time when the players are looking forward to stake a claim for India. And the BCCI must create an opportunity for them to do so. It requires planning. You have to have the interest of domestic cricket also at heart. You can’t just be bothered with the IPL and the T20 World Cup,” he emphasized.
He felt that it was time the selectors widened their pool for players beyond India A, as has been the norm the last few years. “What about the under-19 players or those playing for their state? The thing is that the selectors should not look at just the India A players. That’s a wrong practice. There are good players in inter-state cricket too, who shouldn’t be ignored or basically sidelined. That way, you are overlooking certain quality players or maybe an exceptional talent, who may lose a couple of important years of his career. That shouldn’t happen. The likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli played for India when the time was right for them to do so,” stressed the stalwart. Illustrating his point, Vengsarkar said. “I feel sad for someone like Unadkat. He had a stellar 2019-20 Ranji Trophy season with 67 wickets for Saurashtra, winning the title for them single-handedly. However, he was overlooked by the selectors, which I feel is quite unfortunate indeed.”
He also questioned the BCCI’s plans for a new National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore. “The BCCI was supposed to build a new NCA there, but nothing has been done about it,” he said.

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