The prospects of the Ranji Trophy not happening for the first time have become real after the BCCI informed state associations that the domestic season will comprise, for the moment, just the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the domestic T20 tournament. The SMA Trophy will start on January 10 with the final on January 31.
In an email to the state associations on Sunday, BCCI secretary Jay Shah said that the teams would need to assemble at the respective bio-secure hubs across the country by January 2. The details of the groups and hubs, Shah said, would be finalised and circulated shortly.
Last month, the BCCI sought feedback from the states on what tournaments they would want to feature in 2020-21 domestic season. Majority of the states preferred the SMA Trophy, but several also wanted the Ranji Trophy to be conducted after the domestic T20s. However, in the email announcing the dates, the BCCI did not make a mention of the Ranji Trophy.
"[...] The BCCI will subsequently seek further feedback from members on organising on any other domestic tournament and a decision will be taken after the group stage of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy," Shah said. "The members requested to factor a subsequent tournament in their planning and make arrangements accordingly."
With just a two-month window left before the 2021 IPL begins in April, several state associations said that hosting the Ranji Trophy would become an impossible task during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has imposed several logistical and operational challenges in additional to personal safety. The BCCI is looking to create six bio-secure hubs for the domestic season as a result. Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) and Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) are among those who have offered to host.