Twenty-seven teams, two divisions, 88 matches in 76 days —that’s the Ranji Trophy, the biggest domestic cricket competition in the world. In terms of following and remuneration, it’s not a patch on the Indian Premier League (IPL). But it is the source of living for a majority of cricketers and — more importantly — the biggest stage for aspiring players to showcase their talent.
The Ranji Trophy or domestic cricket remains important only to those involved directly with it. But this number is increasing and we are not talking just players, coaches and umpires. Teams travelling with video analysts are a common sight and the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) policy to encourage modern trends has resulted in earning opportunities also for physios, physical trainers even on-line scorers.
Physios and physical trainers are paid by the respective teams, but for each day of senior cricket, the BCCI spends Rs 7,74,000 in wages per match. Players get Rs 7,26,000 with the rest going to match officials, scorers and video analysts.
The BCCI, often criticised for various reasons, can’t be faulted for not ploughing back at least a part of the massive profit it makes for the development of domestic cricket. Taking into account the volume of operation needed in running cricket for so many teams, all of which has U-16, U-19, U-22 and women’s sides, it has to be said that the BCCI has done something to nurture this industry.
Contrary to popular notion, Ranji Trophy seems to gain from its princely cousin called Indian Premier League because players hoping to win those lucrative contracts know that one sure way of making a name is to do well here. That way, this 76-year-old competition gets an unexpected boost from a glitzy tournament that’s just completed three.
“The Ranji Trophy is the most important domestic competition which reflects a player’s true skill and temperament. I’m sure all IPL franchises keep an eye on it because a number of players in each team come from the Ranji pool. We certainly do,” Kolkata Knight Riders team director Joy Bhattacharjya told HT.