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National T20 meet sacrificed for IPL?

The reason why the world T20 champions don't have their own national domestic championship seems to be because the BCCI has given in to the demand of the IPL teams seeking time to prepare for the mega event, reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.

cricket Updated: Feb 21, 2009 12:19 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has cited no reason why it took the national T20 championship off this season's calendar. "Cramped schedule,” an official said informally, but a closer look reveals that board officials are possibly more concerned about letting the Indian Premier League (IPL) teams have training camps before the gala kicks off on April 10.

Not that he had to, but the BCCI secretary N Srinivasan didn't mention in his press release why the meet scheduled from March 22 to April 6 was cancelled. “Lack of space (four days between the national meet and the IPL),” as argued by another official who didn't want to be named didn't sound convincing because even fewer days separate India's last Test in New Zealand (ending on April 7) and the IPL.

The reason why the world T20 champions don't have their own national domestic championship seems to be because the BCCI has given in to the demand of the IPL teams seeking time to prepare for the mega event.

Most IPL teams are planning to hold camps ranging from a week to 15 days before the second edition. If their domestic recruits were to play in the national T20 meet from March 22 to April 6, getting them to train with their respective IPL teams wouldn't have been possible. Some IPL officials admitted they had asked the BCCI to put on hold the event named after Mushtaq Ali, which is likely to be held at the beginning of the next domestic season.

“It's absurd if we don't get most of our players to stay and train together just before the start of the tournament. This proposal was tabled at a meeting between us and the BCCI,” said a top official of a high-profile team. “It couldn't be done last year because everything happened so fast. But given that we are spending so much money, isn't it natural that we would want to prepare more thoroughly?”

That's their side of the story while the BCCI is unwilling to come up with its side of it. Caught in the gap are players keen on proving their worth in the shortest form of the game but are being denied the chance.