Former head coach Ravi Shastri on Friday said that Indian cricket would become "spineless" if the currently postponed Ranji Trophy is ignored, his comment coming as the BCCI grapples with scheduling the premier domestic event that could not be held last season due to COVID-19.
The Ranji Trophy was scheduled to start on January 13 this year but was postponed indefinitely by the BCCI due to the third wave of the pandemic.
"The Ranji Trophy is the backbone of Indian cricket. The moment you start ignoring it our cricket will be SPINELESS!," Shastri tweeted.
BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal, after a meeting of the Board on Thursday, said that the body intend to hold the marquee domestic tournament in "two phases".
This is because the BCCI is planning to start the IPL from March 27 and it will be practically impossible to hold the Ranji Trophy at a stretch.
Dhumal had said this after many state units and the BCCI brass held a meeting to discuss the way forward.
The meeting was also attended by BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah.
As of now, the plan is to hold the league phase for a month, starting in February till March and then have the next phase in June-July, when the monsoon starts in a lot of parts of the country with peak summer in some other parts.
"The operations team will work out the logistics and factor in the weather, venue availability as well as availability of players. We are very keen to organise the tournament and that is why we are exploring all possibilities to stage it without compromising players' safety," Dhumal added.
The pandemic had played spoilsport last season as well when the BCCI could only organise two men's white-ball tournaments (Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy).
The BCCI paid 50 per cent of the earlier match fee as compensation to all first-class cricketers who endured financial losses due to Ranji's cancellation last year.
If it is not held this year, it will severely affect the BCCI's feeder line like the India A team, which is primarily selected on the basis of Rani Trophy performances.