The BCCI has taken Indian cricket to newer heights while ensuring that the domestic set-up is robust as ever. Former BCCI General Manager Saba Karim recently explained how the board tried its best to offer all players equal opportunities.
Earlier, the BCCI would organize around 800 domestic matches in India. That number went up to 2,000 after the board admitted new members. Nine teams – Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Sikkim, and Uttarakhand joined the domestic circuit in 2018/19.
In an exclusive chat with Indranil Basu on Sportskeeda Cricket’s Facebook page, Saba Karim talked about the expansion.
“I spent three years with BCCI and there were number of verticals we prepared. The idea behind building such verticals was to allow domestic cricket to grow and domestic players to play with freedom. Our role was very simple – to prepare infrastructure, give them as many matches as possible, and the job to perform was up to the cricketers. So, there should not be a case for the cricketers who come up to me and say, ‘Listen, I am not getting enough matches to play,” said Saba Karim.
As nine teams joined the domestic arena, over a hundred cricketers got chances to play. A few experienced players from other states switched to the new units, aiming to revive their careers. Thus, the expansion benefited everyone in the mix.
The coronavirus pandemic has massively impacted the sports world. While the BCCI conducted the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and will soon organize the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the Ranji Trophy will not occur this season.
But the last couple of seasons saw an increase in the number of domestic matches. Saba Karim revealed that the BCCI conducted over 2,000 domestic games in the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons.
“Past two seasons, in 2018/19 and 2019/20, we conducted close to about 2,100 odd games, and this game was spread over 100 cities with multiple venues. So, infrastructure-wise also we have grown manifold. New stadiums are coming up in North-eastern states. Some of the new states whom we have added to BCCI’s fold, they have built some wonderful infrastructure. So, it is heartening to see how cricket is moving in the right direction from BCCI’s perspective,” concluded Saba Karim.