BCCI finalises venues for 2016-17 international matches

MUMBAI:As many as 918 matches across 1,882 match days in all formats will be held in the 2016-17 Indian cricket’s domestic season that begins with the day-night pink ball Duleep Trophy fixture in September.

The busy season will also see India host 13 Tests against four visiting countries with six new centres hosting matches. Dharamsala, Visakhapatnam, Indore, Pune, Rajkot and Ranchi will host the five-day Test matches for the first time beginning with the New Zealand series in September.

Besides, India will also play eight ODIs and three T20 Internationals in the season.

The Tour Programme and Fixtures Committee of the BCCI met here on Thursday to finalise the schedules for international and domestic season.

New Zealand will play three Tests, England five and Australia, four during the season. Bangladesh will also play a Test in Hyderabad, their first in India since getting Test status in 2000.

The venues will get matches subject to the condition that they have numbered the seats in the stadia and fulfil all the guidelines laid down by the BCCI.

Meanwhile, the domestic season will start with the Duleep Trophy, which was not held in 2015-16. The tournament is set to be played under lights with pink ball for the first time. This is being done to help Indian cricketers, all of whom are expected to take part, become familiar with playing under lights with the pink coloured ball, ahead of playing Test cricket in these conditions at home during the season.

Anurag Thakur, the BCCI president, said: “I welcome the new Test venues hosting this prestigious format of cricket and their arrival will take Test match cricket to every corner of the country. We are equally excited about the domestic season as we will be playing the Duleep Trophy with the pink ball under lights and take this opportunity to welcome Chhattisgarh, who will play Ranji trophy for the first time.

“A combined team of Affiliate and Associate states will participate in the junior age-group tournaments, which will provide the much-needed opportunity to the emerging players from these areas. This further reaffirms our commitment to spreading the game by providing the appropriate platforms to our next generation cricketer.”

Honorary secretary Ajay Shirke said: “Some of the best teams of world cricket are coming to play in India this season and we are excited to announce the schedule well ahead of time. This gives the staging associations and the BCCI, sufficient time to prepare and present, one of the most memorable cricketing seasons for our fans. I have full faith in our team at BCCI to deliver International & domestic cricket simultaneously and engage the ardent fans, on all fronts.”

Kolkata frontrunner for day-night Test
The iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata has emerged as the frontrunner to host the first ever day-night Test in India against the visiting New Zealand even though Cricket Association of Bengal president Sourav Ganguly said it will depend on their upcoming “pink ball experiment” from June 18.

“Nothing has been confirmed yet. Hosting a day night Test will depend on the success of the Duleep Trophy. We are also organising the country’s first day-night four-day CAB Super League final with pink Kookaburra balls from June 18-21 on an experimental basis. We will see how it goes,” Ganguly said.

An influential BCCI official, though, said that if the Day/Night Test match is held against New Zealand, it will come to Eden Gardens in all likelihood. “The decision will be taken during the BCCI working committee meeting on June 24th. We are hopeful that Eden will be allotted the match. Also we will get a feedback from CAB on their D/N experiment,” the source said.

Against New Zealand:
3 Tests: Indore, Kanpur, Kolkata

5 ODIs: Dharamsala, Delhi, Mohali, Ranchi, Visakhapatnam

Against England:
5 Tests: Mohali, Rajkot, Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Chennai

3 ODIs: Pune, Cuttack, Kolkata

3 T20Is: Bengaluru, Nagpur, Kanpur

Against Australia:
4 Tests: Bengaluru, Dharamsala, Ranchi, Pune

Against Bangladesh:
1 Test: Hyderabad