The pandemic has wrought its fair share of damage on the international cricket arena. It would therefore be quite the deal if the domestic tournaments in the country would be held without being delayed. As far as the male domestic tournaments go, the Ranji Trophy and the Syed Mushtaq Ali t20 trophy are the only two tournaments which for the time being shall be held in the country.
The BCCI has released the tentative schedule for Syed Mushtaq Ali t20 to be held from January 10th to January 31st. Therefore, across seven secure venues in bio-secure bubbles created specifically for the purpose. As per the mail from Jay Shah, secretary of BCCI, which has been sent to all the teams the tournament shall kickstart the domestic season.
However, there is still no concise consensus on when the Ranji Trophy shall be held. Since the tournament is a T20 tournament, it would be a big deal for young players to make an impression for the sponsors before this year’s IPL.
Structure Of T20 Tournament
As mentioned above, the tournament shall be held in six venues namely—Kolkata, Indore, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Chennai, Mumbai and Bengaluru. There shall be periodic assessment of the players and there shall be multiple COVID tests conducted before each round starts.
The knock-out matches including the quarterfinals shall be held at Ahmedabad where all the teams would have to undergo a fresh round of tests before they are sent to play. Therefore, the grouping of the teams and their venues have been synchronised to ensure minimum travel thereby reducing the chances of infection.
Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Teams
The teams participating in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament have been grouped into six categories. These are as follows:
(Location: Bengaluru ) Elite A: Karnataka, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Tripura and Railways
Elite B (Location: Kolkata): Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Assam, Jharkhand and Hyderabad
(Location: Vadodara) Elite C: Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Chattisgarh, Baroda, and Uttarakhand
Elite D (Location: Goa): Saurashtra, Rajasthan, Services, Vidarbha, Goa and Madhya Pradesh
(Location: Mumbai) Elite E: Delhi, Haryana, Mumbai, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry, and Kerala
Plate (Location: Chennai): Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Chandigarh, Bihar, Sikkim, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh
Therefore, As per the structure, the top two teams from each of these groups shall qualify for the knockouts. Hence they shall be pitted against each other for the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 title. As things stand, Karnataka is going to go into the tournament as the defending champions. They have won the previous edition of the tournament led by Manish Pandey. The team would be looking to defend their title against the onslaught of teams going into the tournament.
The reason for the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy being the first domestic tournament for the 2020-2021 season can easily be realised in the fact that the IPL which would be scheduled to kick off a couple of months later.
With this season being touted as one of the more major ones with approximately 9 or 10 teams competing for the title. It is of no surprise that the domestic T20 tournament is being held first. Given the overwhelming popularity that the IPL enjoys. It could be a win-win circumstance for both the sponsors and the domestic players.
Sponsors could identify new players and place bids for them. Also, the domestic players who are largely unrecognized could get a platform for fame, money, and glory. Hence, the downside could be the potential truncation of other domestic tournaments as there would be only a place for one more domestic tournament on the cards and there would be quite a few tournaments to conduct.