Umpiring issues could lead to rescheduling of Cooch Behar Trophy

NEW DELHI, Oct 31: BCCI may be forced to reschedule the Cooch Behar Trophy since it is clashing with the Ranji Trophy and there are not enough match officials — umpires and match referees — to manage the two tournaments simultaneously.

The inclusion of nine new states into the competition has thrown Indian cricket’s domestic calender into complete haywire.

The BCCI, in all likelihood, will have to delay the matches of National U-19 competition by two-three days.

The Cooch Behar Trophy as per BCCI website was scheduled to start on November 19 but multiple matches of Ranji Trophy will also be played on the same dates.

“The Cooch Behar Trophy might be rescheduled by 2-3 days,”  BCCI GM (Cricket Operations) Saba Karim said.

When asked if there has been shortage of umpires, Karim said, “I don’t think number of umpires is a problem. It’s just that with so many matches scheduled together, we needed to realign umpiring and match official duties,” Karim said.

The Cricket Operations team under Karim has recently received a lot of flak primarily because of overruling some of the decisions taken by Sourav Ganguly-led technical committee.

In fact, Ganguly had been critical about some of the domestic tournament rule tweaks by operations team which didn’t bother to inform the Technical Committee.

When BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary was asked, he said that it has not been discussed with him.

“I have not been told anything. That is defying constitution,” Choudhary said.

As of July 2018, BCCI had only 97 first class umpires along with 54 match referees, which is insufficient for a domestic season where a record 2017 matches (boys, girls, men and women) are scheduled for the 2018-19 season.

The BCCI had conducted a Level 2 course earlier this year for umpires but it’s still not known how many of them will be assigned domestic matches.

“Lack of umpires has been an issue for the longest time and once Supreme Court had passed order for new states to be included, the Cricket Operations team should have been ready,” a senior BCCI official said.

“Don’t forget you need to factor in the fatigue and travelling across the country also. It can affect performance,” the official said. (PTI)