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MUMBAI: Soon after he stroked his maiden century in First-Class cricket – a match-turning 109 off just 105 balls against Tamil Nadu in the semifinal of the Ranji Trophy at the MCA’s ground in BKC – Mumbai’s India pacer Shardul Thakur, speaking up on behalf of hundreds of players, particularly pace bowlers in domestic cricket, stressed that there needs to be more gap between matches in the Ranji Trophy than what exists presently – just a three-day turnaround time – in order to prevent injuries to the players.
In words that must not be missed by the BCCI, and particularly those who draw up the domestic cricket schedule, the 32-year-old cautioned that “if the boys keep playing like this for two more seasons, there will be a lot of injuries across the country.”
“It’s difficult because we are playing First-Class matches with three-day gaps and I don’t think it has ever happened. When I started playing in the Ranji Trophy matches, the first three games used to have a three-day break, then a four-day break and then the knockouts had a five-day break. Now we have seen all matches are played at three-days’ gap, so it is extremely tough for domestic players to expect them to play 10 games in a row with just a three-day gap if the team reaches the final,” Thakur told reporters here on Sunday.
“I think next year they will have to relook at it and give more breaks (between Ranji Trophy matches). The schedule is becoming tighter and tighter. If boys keep playing like this for two more seasons, there will be a lot of injuries across the country,” Thakur stressed.
Thakur’s suggestion to schedule a bigger gap between matches in the Ranji Trophy was backed by Saurashtra captain and veteran pacer Jaydev Unadkat.
“I think that because of a constricted schedule, the BCCI is unable to give more time between (Ranji) matches. Maybe an alternative can be that at the halfway stage of the season, that is, after three-four games, they can give two-three days more (gap between matches). And then a four-day gap (between matches) at the knockout stage, for sure, because the KO games are five-day affairs, which means you need an extra day’s rest. Around three-four seasons back, we had a four-day gap. As a fast bowler, I would say that ideally, there should be a six-day gap between the knockout matches,” Unadkat told TOI.


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