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Laxmi Ratan Shukla (right) quipped on the move which was brought in by former India captain Sourav Ganguly (middle)-headed BCCI technical committee © IANS

Kolkata: Former India cricketer turned state minister Laxmi Ratan Shukla on Friday criticised the concept of neutral venues in Ranji Trophy this season, saying the move will not work out. “It’s really unfortunate. It would not work out this way and I’m sure they [the BCCI] would go back to the original format from next season,” the minister of state in West Bengal sports ministry said on the sidelines of Delhi-Karnataka Ranji Trophy group B match at Eden Gardens. The match featured India players in Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma but it failed to attract any crowd and there was virtually ‘no attendance’ barring the officials and media persons in the gigantic Eden.

Dismayed to see empty stands, the former Bengal captain said: “I feel really sad not to see my team at Eden. It’s like living in somebody’s house, when you have your own,” he quipped on the move which was brought in by former India captain Sourav Ganguly-headed BCCI technical committee. BCCI’s technical committee had recommended to hold the matches of its Premier domestic championship at neutral venues in May this year to make it more competitive. As Day One’s play of the Round 3 of Ranji Trophy 2016-17 end, Bengal put up a good score and expect to end their batting with good runs on the board as they face Punjab.

The entire team performed with the bat contributing their bit which resulted in a big total at stumps of Day One of the match. Sayan Shekhar Mandal scored century while both Sudip Chatterjee and Agniv Pan scored half-centuries to help their side take the score to 332 at stumps of Day One and they still have 5 wickets in hand.