BCCI reverts Ranji Trophy to home-away format

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) technical committee under the chairmanship of Sourav Ganguly on Tuesday decided to revert to the home-away format of the Ranji Trophy league matches. The BCCI had last year decided to host Ranji Trophy matches at neutral venues for the 2016-17 season after numerous complaints about home teams doctoring the pitches. However, most of the domestic captains gave the neutral venues format a thumbs down during the Captains Conclave in Mumbai earlier this year, when it became clear that the idea was a flop. "We have reverted to home and away format because of logistical reasons, even the players and captains wanted this," Ganguly said. "The matches will be less now, it was becoming too long a season. Associations also wanted to see their teams play at the home venue. It was on a trial basis and now we want to go back to original format," he added. Commenting on the development, BCCI Acting Secretary Amitabh Choudhary told reporters here: "There will be a change from the past as far as Ranji Trophy is concerned."  "All league matches will be home and away as it was two seasons ago. The knockout matches will continue to be in neutral venues. The committee also decided that for junior cricket, while the home and away will continue for league matches, the knockout matches will again be at neutral venues." "Because of the addition of Chhattisgarh last year, the total number of teams in the Ranji Trophy became 28 as you are aware, leading to a skewed set-up of Ranji Trophy with 9+9+10, which works out to 28. These 28 teams will be spilt up into four different groups. With top two teams qualifying for the quarter-finals and then further," Choudhary told reporters here after the meeting. There will be groups A, B, C and D with seven teams who will be playing six league games, with top two from each group advancing to the quarterfinals. The Duleep Trophy, he said, will be played with the pink ball like last year and most matches will be played under floodlights. "We will continue will pink ball in the Duleep Trophy matches and most of them will be D/N affairs," Choudhary said. On the Ranji Trophy, likely to start from October 6, reverting to the old format, Ganguly said: "The teams want that and we also want that." "Vinoo Mankad Trophy has been the board's season-opening tournament for 10 years, and that's how it will be this year," he added.