India’s next engagement in the longer format comes only in July when they tour West Indies for two Tests. @ AFP

The scheduling of the domestic calendar has come under harsh criticism with tournaments like the Irani Cup being played after the Ranji Trophy.

The body language of the players too was quite evident on the opening day of the Irani Cup on Tuesday at Nagpur. Defending champions Vidarbha were missing two of their match-winners in Umesh Yadav (played three knockout games and bowled 108.3 overs for his 23 wickets which came at an average of 12.26) and Wasim Jaffer (he played 11 matches in the Ranji Trophy 2018-19 and scored 1037 runs at an average of 69.13 with four hundreds).

With the Indian Premier League (IPL) and ICC World Cup 2019 up ahead, Rest of India players too were quite flamboyant with their stroke-play and departed after succumbing to adventurous shots, not the kind you would expect in a four-day match. (ALSO READ: ‘What’s the point in playing the Irani Cup when the Ranji Trophy is just over?’)

India’s next engagement in the longer format comes only in July when they tour West Indies for two Tests.

To sort the issue of scheduling, former India batsman Sandeep Patil reckons that it’s only the players who can speak out about the issue.

“It’s the players who should say something about this. These days, the players save themselves for the IPL. The season is practically over now. The Aussies will play only a few limited over games here. The pace and direction at which modern-day cricket is going, it’s difficult to revive these tournaments,” Patil, a former chairman of the selection committee, was quoted as saying according to a report in the Times of India on Wednesday. (ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Fitness, dogged attitude and the Che plan: Faiz Fazal reveals story of Vidarbha’s Ranji Trophy triumph)

He fears tournaments like the Irani Cup and Duleep Trophy are in great danger.

“The importance of domestic cricket has gone down drastically. The inability of the (top) players to participate in it has marred it. In our time, Irani and Duleep ties were selection matches. The selectors used to pick teams after these games. Now, they aren’t bothered with these games. It’s sad, and we had discussed this four to five years ago in the Board, when Sourav Ganguly was the chairman of the Tours and Fixtures Committee. Unless the BCCI takes a stance on this, nothing will improve,” he explained.

The 62-year-old Patil also pointed out the fallouts of ignoring such important tournaments.

“Unless you improve the standard of domestic cricket, you won’t get classy players. If the second-stringers keep playing in domestic cricket, then who will the selectors pick? There’ll be no fun in watching domestic cricket. There will be a time when you have good replacements available,” he said. (ALSO READ: Jaydev Unadkat suggests face masks for bowlers following nasty blow to Ashok Dinda)

However, the Board is quite convinced that scheduling of the Irani Cup at the end of the season rather, is the way forward.

“The season-opener is the Duleep Trophy. I’ve not received any feedback of the players being drained out for this fixture. Obviously, the team which wins the tournament will play the most number of games. If any such issue is there, it’ll be discussed in the captain and coaches’ conclave,” former India wicketkeeper Saba Karim, also the GM, cricket operations in the BCCI, said.