Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

Duleep Trophy out till 2016, U-19 Challenger meet introduced

- Somshuvra Laha somshuvra.laha@hindustant­imes.com

KOLKATA: The Duleep Trophy, conducted uninterrup­ted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) since 1961-62, has been dropped from this season’s domestic calendar that was released by the board.

According to a statement released by the BCCI, a new under-19 challenger tournament will start this season, along with two new tournament­s for women but it gave no reason why the Duleep Trophy was given a miss this year.

BCCI general operations manager MV Sridhar told HT that the tournament has merely been postponed to next year. “There is no question of scrapping this tournament. Since this year is all about one-dayers and T20 matches we have just dropped the Duleep Trophy for a season. India will play 12 Tests at home next season so it would be appropriat­e if we start it with the Duleep Trophy,” Sridhar told Hindustan Times.

However what’s disconcert­ing is how the BCCI has clearly given preference to the one-day and Twenty20 format in the domestic season. Once consid- ered a trial for Test selection, the importance of Duleep Trophy has waned over the years to a meet for fringe players.

North Zone and West Zone have won the title 17 times, South Zone have won 12 times while defending champions Central Zone and East Zone have won six times and twice respective­ly.

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