The calendar approved by BCCI’s acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary on Friday (August 18), a copy of which is in TOI’s possession, says the season is due to start with the Ranji Trophy on October 6 and will end with the Deodhar Trophy one-day tournament on March 18, 2018 with a maximum of two weeks separating two tournaments.
Choudhary had claimed, on July 31, that the Duleep Trophy would be played with the pink ball and in the same format as last year. The first-class tournament deviated from its traditional inter-zonal format to having three teams – India Blue, India Green and India Red – last season.
It must be noted that the board had shelved the tournament a couple of seasons ago, citing the need to test players in the shorter formats of the game before the selectors got down to picking the team for the ICC World Twenty20 in March 2016. Even last year, the entire tournament was somehow squeezed in and was played in Greater Noida in the midst of monsoon season.
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In another development, it is learnt that New Zealand A are due to come to India for a series in mid-September. “As of now, the series is slated to start on September 19. We are in the last round of clearing the formalities with the government,” a top BCCI official told TOI.
In that case, the board would struggle to find a window for the Duleep Trophy. “India will be playing ODIs against Australia in September-October after the tour of Sri Lanka, and with the India A series on as well, top 30-32 players will be unavailable around that time,” the official added.