Abhinav Mukund, Tamil Nadu’s captain, blasted BCCI’s neutral-venue experiment for Ranji Trophy this season, saying he can’t name even one positive thing about it. “Shall I keep naming the cons?” he said when asked whether he was a fan of the board’s decision. From paucity of balls to nature of pitches, he listed them out. He even said that he can’t think of any positive effect of the experiment. “Pros? I don’t know any.”
Match referees have had a tough time this season with the demand for balls as associations have shrugged off, saying they don’t have enough new balls.“First of all, every association has to provide balls. Before every game, there is a matter of umpires and match referees coming to the captain and coach and saying, we need four balls, we need five balls. There’s an issue with the balls every single game. I cannot have such problem in a knockout game. In a Ranji Trophy semifinal, if you can come and tell me (before the match), I don’t have balls in the ball box, I don’t understand that. That is point one,” Mukund was just warming up.
Mukund then hit out against the pitches. “Secondly, none actually gives a damn about the wickets that are being prepared. Everyone’s playing safe, which is why people are scoring more than 1000 runs, 1500 runs and I don’t see many spinners coming into play at all.”
He also lamented the fact that how playing relentlessly away has deprived young cricketers the experience of playing at home.
“I don’t like this concept mainly because of the fact that there’s no continuity. You play throughout the year in one condition – it’s really important to play at home. These are the kind of things you grow up as a cricketer. So many cricketers who have made debut for us this year haven’t played at Chepauk. That’s such a big thing for me, at least.”
Associations like Mumbai and Saurashtra were against the idea of neutral venues as they felt that whole essence of the tournament will be lost if home and away system is abolished. However, BCCI went ahead with it.
Mukund summed up the season for Tamil Nadu, pointing out the big positive was that they proved that they weren’t a team that depended heavily on turning tracks.