New Delhi, July 21: The BCCI today clarified that the Duleep Trophy inter-zonal cricket competition has not been scrapped altogether but will serve as the curtain raiser for next year's domestic calendar after being dropped this season.
The BCCI today said in a release that Duleep Trophy remains an integral part of the domestic calendar. The Board said it's keen to add more relevance to the more than half-a-century-old tournament in the coming years to prepare players for Test cricket.
"BCCI wishes to clarify that...the Duleep Trophy remains an integral part of domestic calendar. BCCI wishes to reaffirm its keenness to add more relevance to the Duleep Trophy in the coming years and to prepare our cricketers for Test cricket," the BCCI said in the release.
"India will play 12 Test matches at home in the next Season (2016-17) between October-March. Duleep trophy will be the curtain raiser for the forthcoming domestic season and provide a platform for the players to stake a claim," it added.
According to the domestic calendar issued yesterday, there's no window for the Duleep Trophy this season due to the packed schedule of domestic and international cricket.
"This year's schedule has been planned to ensure that prominence for various domestic competitions is relevant to India's international calendar and in particular with India hosting the ICC World Twenty20," the BCCI said.
"In addition, due to extreme weather conditions that is prevalent in the North India and parts of East India during peak winter, BCCI wanted to ensure that the Ranji Trophy matches were not affected. All the zonal tournaments have been planned in that interim period, thereby ensuring level playing field for everyone," the release said.
While dropping the Duleep Trophy this year, the BCCI also changed the formats of limited overs tournaments like Deodhar Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy. As recently as last year, the Duleep Trophy was the selection trial for many Indian team aspirants.