The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly has defended the board for its failure to host the Ranji Trophy in the last two years. He admitted that the domestic competition is the "most important" in India and attributed the issues to the pandemic, saying it's a "challenge" to organize any tournament in the current situation.
The red-ball competition was dropped for the first time 87 years in 2020-21 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, placing a more strain on the existences of cricketers, authorities, and different partners. It looked set for another cancelation this year, as well, before pressure from the crew optimized a turnaround.
The BCCI will currently have the competition in two stages - the league stage before IPL 2022 and the playoffs after the opulent tournament.
Speaking to Sportstar, Sourav Ganguly said:
"Obviously, we missed one year of Ranji Trophy â€“ the 2020-21 season. It is the most important tournament in India, and we always wanted to organise it. But what the world has seen in the last two years, I donâ€™t think it has happened in anybodyâ€™s lifetime. So, keeping all these things in mind, it was actually a challenge to organise any tournament."
Sourav Ganguly said he's keeping his fingers crossed to see the competition continue without a hitch.
"We organised the Cooch Behar Trophy and there came the third wave. On the first day itself, 50 players contracted the virus. So, it is not easy. But we are lucky that we can still conduct tournaments. We still have our fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly."
The association stage is probably going to start on February 16 and proceed until March 5, as per media reports. Nine urban cities- Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Trivandrum, Cuttack, Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Baroda and Rajkot - and nine separate bio-secure air pockets will be utilized to have the 38-competitions.