When the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the dates for Deodhar Trophy, the inter-zonal one-day championship, some of the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchisees were disturbed. The reason: The Deodhar Trophy, to be played from March 6 to 9, was going to clash with their final phase of IPL-3 preparations.
And the franchisees did have reason to be offended. With most of the overseas and India's international players joining their respective teams barely a week before the start of the tournament, the last week was probably the only time before IPL-3 when the whole squad would have been able to train together.
A glance at the Deodhar Trophy squads is enough to justify the franchisees' case. Of the 75 players slated to participate in the Deodhar Trophy, 40 are included in the initial 23-member squad list of their respective IPL team (see box).
Kolkata Knight Riders’ preparations will take the most serious beating since they will lose six players each during the Deodhar Trophy.
Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore are not far behind as they will miss five players for a better part of the last week of IPL preparations.
It wasn't a surprise that many franchisees requested the IPL to intervene and asked them to release the players to skip Deodhar Trophy.
IPL chairman Lalit Modi, however, did not bow to the request, which would have taken the sheen out of the premier domestic one-day tournament. “(We) told them (franchisees) to go straight home. They (players) have to play the Deodhar Trophy,” Modi, who also heads the BCCI's Tours, Programme and Fixtures Committee, told Hindustan Times on Friday.
“They will all request. Everybody can. You can ask for the moon. But rules are rules. We are not going to sacrifice Deodhar Trophy for them.”
Mumbai Indians, the most expensive IPL outfit, will miss their star spinner Harbhajan Singh, who hasn't yet joined the preparatory camp being held at the Cricket Club of India, during the Deodhar Trophy.
Yet, Head Coach Robin Singh insisted it wouldn't have any impact on the team's planning.
“We've been together for a long while now, so it's really not an issue. As long as they are playing cricket, we are fine,” Robin said.
“Now we know exactly who needs what to do, so that will not be an issue.”