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Update Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy the tournament of choice for State Associations
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The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy has emerged as the tournament of preference among state associations for the 2020-21 domestic season, with Ranji Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy finding almost equal support as the second tournament of choice.

Explaining why Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy has been a tournament of preference, one of the association officials told Cricbuzz, "It is easier to handle the bio bubble in the shortest format. Hopefully, things should improve in two months before Ranji Trophy commences."

The domestic T20 competition, which is scheduled to be held from December 20 to January 10, may have found support, but Saurashtra Cricket Association and Kerala Cricket Association have requested the BCCI to delay the start of the tournament to January.

"It is indeed immensely challenging to host BCCI's domestic tournament in prevailing situation," Jaydev Shah, SCA secretary, wrote in an email to BCCI. "Any tournament must start from January 2021 only. This will give enough time to every member association to have the required preparation of teams, etc. Starting from December 2020 could be too early, as we have so far not called any players for training, etc under the prevailing situation"

Kerala Cricket Association too stated on similar lines: "Due to strict government measures cricketing activities are yet to resume. The cricketers are deprived of training and pre-season preparation. Under these circumstances, getting the state team ready for the domestic season by 20th December is unimaginable. The latest any format of the domestic tournament should begin is from 1st week of January 2021."

The Haryana Cricket Association has also held reservation against hosting of any cricket till the time the pandemic situation improves, and as a choice of preference, have suggested hosting only the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. "We feel that it would be safest to not conduct any domestic cricket this season while ensuring that the cricketers get paid to tide over this difficult period," HCA stated in their email accessed by Cricbuzz. "I am positive that some equitable solution could easily be worked out collectively. However, if the BCCI was to conduct domestic cricket, we would of course leave no stone unturned to ensure our participation."

The Hyderabad Cricket Association have suggested that the BCCI host Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy first up and then assess what would be the best course of action thereafter. "Only on the successful completion of the T20 league, we would be in a position to decide the way forward for Ranji Trophy," Mohammed Azharuddin, the HCA president, wrote in an email to BCCI.

While the window for Vijay Hazare Trophy is from January 11-February 7, for Ranji Trophy, it extends till March 18.

While the cricket associations of Haryana and Himachal have suggested that only Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy be played, those from Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tripura, Meghalaya, Goa, Manipur, Bengal and Andhra have suggested that both Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Ranji Trophy be played.

Meanwhile, associations from Arunachal, Saurashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Chandigarh have listed out Vijay Hazare Trophy as their second choice option. Odisha Cricket Association has also given a preference to Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, while adding that any of Ranji Trophy or Vijay Hazare Trophy works for them as the second option. Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Cricket Association have listed all three tournaments with an order of preference.

On November 28, the Board of Control for Cricket in India, had written to the state associations seeking their recommendation on which tournament should be hosted, offering them four options: Only Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Only Ranji Trophy, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Ranji Trophy or Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy. The state associations were given time till December 2 to revert to the Indian cricket board.

The BCCI had claimed in the email that they will create six bio-secure bubbles across the country to host the domestic season with each hub consisting of three venues. Several associations, in their response to BCCI, have also proposed to host the tournament.

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