New Delhi, Jan 27: BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal on Thursday said that the board intends to hold the Ranji Trophy in "two phases" after they were forced to postpone the premier first-class competition due to rising cases of COVID-19 in the country.
The Ranji Trophy comprising 38-first-class teams was scheduled to start on January 13 but was postponed indefinitely due to the third wave of COVID-19.
With the BCCI planning to start the IPL from March 27, it is practically impossible to hold the tournament in one go but after requests from many state units, the brass held a meeting to discuss the way forward.
"We are exploring the possibility of staging Ranji Trophy, cases were going up when it was postponed, now they seem to be coming down. The operations team is working on whether we can do the league stage next month and complete the rest of the tournament later (post IPL)," Dhumal told PTI after the meeting.
The meeting was also attended by BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah. As of now, the plan is to hold the league phase for a month, starting in February till March and then have the next phase in June-July, when the monsoon starts in a lot of parts of India with peak summer in some other parts.
"The operations team will work out the logistics and factor in the weather, venue availability as well as availability of players. We are very keen to organise the tournament and that is why we are exploring all possibilities to stage it without compromising players' safety," Dhumal added.
The pandemic played spoilsport last season as the BCCI only had the two men's white ball tourneys (Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy).
The BCCI paid 50 percent of the earlier match fees as compensation to all first-class cricketers who have endured financial losses. If it is not held this year, it will severely affect the BCCI's pathways cricket like India A team, which is primarily selected on the basis of Rani Trophy performance.