The BCCI has been meticulous enough in planning its string of first class tournaments. The Ranji Trophy determines the best state side and throws in new talent that can last five-day games. The Duleep Trophy is meant lift the standard a notch higher for the best performers in the five zones who compete against each other. Irani Cup has immense historic value, is the curtain raiser of the domestic season also tests the Ranji champions.
The fifty-over Vijay Hazare Trophy is supposed to unearth talent good at the shorter format while the Deodhar and Challenger (NKP Salve) Trophy also showcase the best flair in the country. Logically then, the selections to the national team, in most cases, is done on the basis of the performances in these prestigious tournaments.
But if there is one tournament that isn't serving much purpose, it is the national T20 tournament for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Its league phase is played in October and the knockouts in March/April. What's the point of honing skills required to succeed in T20 cricket a week before the 4-day Ranji Trophy kicks-off? And what's the point in acquiring those skills if they must be abandoned for a good six months?
Besides, performances in this tournament may not count - it would be silly to select players for ODI or Tests on the basis of T20. Anyway, even the selection of the national T20 team is influenced more by the IPL.
The only purpose this T20 tournament serves is to help the IPL franchisees spot talent. Even if the selectors fail to attend all the matches, IPL scouts are present at most games.
If the sole purpose is to assist the IPL franchisees, it won't be a bad idea to let them run the show. This would not only allow them to take ownership of the talent they're eventually going to sign but make them give something back to the domestic set-up.
Now, the IPL franchisees are feeding on the talent provided by the BCCI. The new arrangement may encourage them to unearth fresh talent and also remain active throughout the year, not just during the 45-day extravaganza.
(The writer plays for Rajasthan in domestic cricket)