It seems the Duleep Trophy has already seen the last of its days, as the tournament failed to find a place in BCCI's final draft for the upcoming domestic season.
According to a report by Times of India, the domestic season is slated to begin with the Ranji Trophy, which will begin from 6 October. The season is reported to end with Deodhar Trophy, as per the draft which has no mention of the Duleep trophy, a copy of which Times of India claims to have in its possession.
It is reported that the calendar has been approved by BCCI's acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary, someone who had previously said that the Duleep Trophy would be played this season.
However, the technical committee of the BCCI, which makes the proposals regarding the domestic cricket structure of India, seems to be unaware of such a move.
According to the report, an unnamed member of the technical committee said, "There must be some confusion. It was understood that the tournament will go ahead. Strange that the tournament and fixtures committee has overlooked it. This needs to be revisited before the schedule is released."
Incidentally, its not the first time that Duleep Trophy has been subject to such confusion. The tournament's format was changed last year, from inter-zonal format to the three-team format.
The tournament was previously shelved two seasons ago, when the BCCI pushed it aside for the purpose of testing players in shorter formats before World T20. Even last year, the tournament was haphazardly organised in Greater Noida in between the monsoon season.
It has been also learnt that New Zealand 'A' is slated to tour India in September, along with the senior team's series against Australia. It could effectively mean the country's top players could be unavailable for the Duleep Trophy.
Thus, the very purpose for which the pink ball was brought in the picture for Duleep Trophy, of getting country's top cricketers acclimatised with it, would not be fulfilled.
It would be interesting to see if the BCCI finally gets around to organising the tournament or whether the historic Duleep Trophy bids a final goodbye.
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