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Ranji Trophy cricket: Bengal unhappy after smog-hit game vs Gujarat ruled as a draw

The Bengal association is upset the BCCI senior tournament committee overruled its technical committee, headed by former India skipper and Cricket Association of Bengal president, Sourav Ganguly, which rescheduled two Ranji Trophy league matches, including the Bengal-Gujarat tie, after the smog in Delhi last month.

cricket Updated: Dec 07, 2016 10:27 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
cricket,bengal,sourav ganguly
Former India skipper, Sourav Ganguly, may hold the key as Bengal protest BCCI’s decision to treat the Bengal-Gujarat and Hyderabad-Tripura Ranji Trophy matches hit by smog in Delhi last month as draws. (PTI)

Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) will ask the BCCI to review Tuesday’s decision not to reschedule Bengal’s Ranji Trophy game against Gujarat which was called off last month after heavy smog in Delhi prevented a ball being bowled for the first two days.

The BCCI’s technical committee, headed by former skipper Sourav Ganguly --- he also heads CAB --- had decided to reschedule two games that were affected by the severe Delhi smog. The Bengal-Gujarat Ranji Trophy game was rescheduled to be played in Visakhapatnam from December 15.

However, the cricket Board’s senior tournament committee overruled the technical panel’s decision, and decided on Tuesday that the teams will only share points and there would be no replay. If this decision stands, it can affect Bengal as its chances of qualifying to the knockout stages could hinge on defeating Gujarat.

The decision to refer the issue to the senior tournament committee has raised a controversy. BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke opted to review the technical committee’s decision for a replay after Mumbai and Tamil Nadu protested. But Gautam Roy, chairman of the senior tournament committee, didn’t attend the meeting. CAB joint-secretary, Avishek Dalmiya said the matter would be raised with BCCI. “We will write a letter and our president (Ganguly) will also speak to the people concerned. It’s unfortunate that this happened.”

What has complicated the matter is BCCI deciding on Tuesday to reschedule the Ranji Trophy match between Orissa and Jharkhand, due to have started in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu on Wednesday, following the death of Tamil Nadu chief minister, J Jayalalithaa. The decision was taken due to exceptional circumstances, which CAB officials contend is similar to what had happened in Delhi due to smog.

“We had spoken to the match referee (P Ranganathan). He had consulted the two captains Parthiv (Patel) and Manoj (Tiwary) before taking the decision. The players weren’t even able to breathe. The decision wasn’t taken by CAB, it was taken by BCCI. It’s astonishing BCCI is going back on its own decision,” another top CAB official said.

It was also pointed out that according to a BCCI constitution amendment in November, 2015, the senior tournament committee shall recommend changes in format or schedule of senior events to the technical committee. That amendment, CAB officials feel, makes the technical committee’s decision to reschedule the Bengal-Gujarat and Hyderabad-Tripura Ranji Trophy matches on November 3 legal and binding.

“I am aware of the situation. I will be taking up this issue at the appropriate forum with president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke,” Ganguly told PTI.

Asked if the morale of the team will be down due to this decision as they play an important match against Madhya Pradesh, starting Wednesday, the former India captain said that he has spoken to the boys and told them to keep their chin up.

“I have told the boys that they should just focus on the match and not think about anything else. Their goal should be to win the match,” Ganguly added.

First Published: Dec 06, 2016 22:18 IST