CHENNAI : The 18 teams that are in Elite Group A and B of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, that starts on Wednesday, are already scratching their heads over the draw of the tournament.According to new rules, five teams from these two groups will make it to the quarterfinals. The catch is, they will progress on the basis of points earned, irrespective of which group they are in. This means if the top four teams are from one group, they advance ahead of the second-placed team in the other group. Before the country’s premier domestic one-day tournament gets underway in Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Vadodara, the teams are somewhat puzzled by this.
Last season, with 28 teams in action, the BCCI had divided them into four groups of seven with the top two making it to the quarterfinals. But this season owing to the inclusion of nine new teams, the formats of Vijay Hazare and Ranji Trophy have been changed. The new entrants are in Plate group. The other 28 are in Elite A, B and C with nine each in the first two and 10 in the third. Two from C and one from Plate will complete the last 8 line-up.
But with Group A (Bengaluru) and B (Delhi) matches happening in different cities, some of the teams are questioning the logic behind this format. The coach of a Group A team revealed this was not discussed during the annual captains and coaches conclave. With rain predicted for the entire leg in Bengaluru, it may affect the chances of these teams.
“When the BCCI announced that five teams from Group A and B will advance, they seemed to have overlooked the possibility that four teams from one group can advance. If some of the matches in Bengaluru are washed out, then it puts the teams playing in Delhi in pole position to advance. Conditions are completely different there. In such a scenario, how do you determine the top five teams?” said the coach on condition of anonymity.
Curiously, the format of the domestic season was not drafted by the technical committee of the BCCI headed by Sourav Ganguly. It was done by Saba Karim, General Manager (Cricket Operations) and CEO Rahul Johri.“The format had been sent to the coaches and state associations two months back. I do not understand why they are having an issue with it now. Vijay Hazare group games have traditionally been played at multiple venues. I don’t see a problem there,” Karim told Express.
“If four teams make the cut from one group because of weather-related issues, it will be unfortunate. The tournament was advanced because many Ranji matches were being affected by rain, and it was done by the technical committee. “Keeping the weather in mind in eastern parts, we picked two venues in the south, one in north and west. If despite this something goes wrong, we can do little about it,” Karim said.