Though the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) annual conclave of its affiliated units' coaches and captains, held at the Hilton Towers on Friday, did not turn out to be stormy, it had enough food for thought for those involved in the mission to improve Indian domestic cricket.
The meeting, presided over by BCCI president Sharad Pawar and chaired by its technical committee chairman Sunil Gavaskar, was attended by representatives of the 27 Ranji Trophy teams.
A press release later issued by BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah stated that the members present were informed about the BCCI Working Committee's decision to have neutral venues for the Ranji Trophy semis and finals and to have 10 and 17 teams in the Ranji Trophy Elite and Plate groups, respectively, from the 2008-9 seasons.
However, though the members did not have a problem with having 10 teams in the Elite group, the decision to have 17 teams in the lower division did not go down too well with them.
"Many believe that instead of having so many (17) teams in the lower division, we should add one more division and continue with the existing promotion and relegation system in the three divisions," said a source who attended the meeting, but didn't want to be named.
The scheduling of the domestic season was at the forefront of the suggestions made by the team captains and coaches.
While the members suggested that Duleep Trophy be held after the Ranji Trophy as earlier, instead of the current system of hosting it before the Ranji Trophy (in October-November every year). And the teams also wanted the Twenty20 tournament, which made its debut this season, to be held earlier.
However, the most interesting suggestion was about the change in the Ranji Trophy points system. At present, the team that has the first innings lead in a drawn match gets two points while the team that concedes the lead gets none. And a team gets four points for an outright win, with a bonus point for a win by either 10 wickets or by an innings.
The teams, however, wanted a team that concedes the lead yet draws the match to be rewarded for their effort. "We suggested that the team losing on the basis of the first innings lead (technically a draw) should be awarded a point," said another member who attended the meeting. "But we also wanted to maintain the two-point difference in this case. So we've proposed three points for the team that earns the innings lead while one for the other."
It was also suggested that instead of four, an outright win should give five points to the team and an additional bonus for the existing criteria.
All these suggestions will now be discussed when the Technical Committee meets in June.