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Update Vijay Hazare Trophy set to start from February 18

It is almost certain that the venues for the Vijay Hazare tournament will be the same as the just-concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Tournament. Just that the knockouts could be played in a different city. Cricbuzz understands that Mumbai, Baroda, Kolkata, Indore, Bangalore will host the league matches with another venue in Kerala included.

Chennai was a centre for the league stage (of Plate division) of the Twenty20 tournament but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is looking at Kochi as a possible alternative as Chennai is already hosting two international teams - India and England - in a couple of Test matches. The tournament is set to kick off on February 18. "Same venues are being preferred because the local associations know the protocols," said an official of Baroda Cricket Association, which has offered to host women's matches too.

Similarly, for the women's one-day tourney, the BCCI is contemplating venues like Vijayawada, Hyderabad and Pune. The BCCI has also approached a few other Tier-II cities which have good hotels for the creation of the bio-bubbles. The board's plans are slightly hampered as it cannot have matches in infrastructurally well-equipped Delhi and Chandigarh because of the ongoing farmers' agitation.

Ahmedabad, which has hosted the knockouts of the of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, is ruled out for this time because the India and England teams will be in the Gujarat city for a month - from February 18 to March 18, when two Tests and five T20I would be played there.

Just like the T20s, the 38 teams - 37 in the case of women as Services do not have a women's team -- will be divided into six clusters with teams in each cluster playing at one city.

The venue selection has been done based on the requirements of Apollo Group of Hospitals that has been tasked with creating the bio-bubbles for the domestic and international events in India. The women's one-dayers too are expected to start on February 18. All the matches will be day-affairs although many centres have the facility to organise day/night games too.

On Saturday, the BCCI communicated to all state associations that there will be no red ball first class games (Ranji Trophy) this year because of lack of a sufficient window. The Ranji Trophy would have needed more than 70 days and Vijay Hazare can be wrapped up in 34 days without having to overlap or go beyond the IPL, which is scheduled to start in April.


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