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Time to overhaul points system in Ranji Trophy

The bulk of the Ranji Trophy matches this season were draws. So much so that only one outright win was enough to take Mumbai into the final. The loopholes in the points system, perhaps, gave Mumbai the leeway to not force the issue.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2010 00:42 IST
Aakash Chopra

The bulk of the Ranji Trophy matches this season were draws. So much so that only one outright win was enough to take Mumbai into the final. The loopholes in the points system, perhaps, gave Mumbai the leeway to not force the issue.

The bonus point for every win with 10 wickets or an innings is a good attempt in taking things forward.

It, in fact, secured Delhi a place in the Ranji Trophy knockouts. Yet, most teams are not willing to go that extra yard. After all, taking 20 wickets is a task that requires quality and physical strength from the bowlers.

Perhaps, it's time to give the Ranji Trophy a facelift and make the 'system' and the approach a lot more exciting. How about making the first innings lead not as significant in the scheme of things? How about giving teams a substantial initiative for winning the game?

My suggestion would be:

a) Introduce the system of grace points for batting and bowling, b) Either completely do away with points for the first innings lead, or to give them away nominally.

Sample this: A maximum of 5 batting points shall be awarded, starting with 125 runs on the scorecard. Thereafter, the batting team would get a point each for every 75 runs scored till they reach a total of 425 runs, which means a maximum of 5 batting points. For the bowling team, every two wickets taken would mean a bowling point.

Now, to make things a bit more interesting, the batting points would only be available till the 125th over. This essentially means the batting side has to maintain a healthy scoring rate of 3.4 runs per over. As for the bowling side, they can get bowling points till the entire opposition is bowled out.

By doing this, the batting side would want to declare after batting for 125 overs as it's only the bowling side who can gain points after that. Points for the team which got the first innings lead could also be granted, though not in excess.

As for the second innings, there should be at least 10 points at stake for an outright win. This would encourage both teams to force a result.

The team batting last will have a good chance to win the game and hence teams may be tempted to field first on more occasions. This may also negate the impact of toss on the game.

This system can be followed in the league phase because if some teams still don't force the issue, they run a risk of finding themselves in the relegation zone very quickly.

But for the knockouts, we can put a limit to the maximum number of overs at a team's disposal (125 overs in the first innings and 100 overs each in the second assuming it's a five-day match) which in turn would give us an outright result every time.