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No ‘live’ telecast of Ranji Trophy

Once again domestic cricket will take a hit, reaffirming the belief that there are no takers for the game if it is not of international flavour.

It is learnt that Ranji Trophy matches, to be held at far flung venues, will not be telecast ‘live’ because the season is packed with international cricket.

India is scheduled to play 13 Tests at home against New Zealand, England and Australia. The hectic itinerary leaves little space for domestic cricket to find a slot on television.

For sometime, one match per round was being shown live backed up by live streaming too. It will be missing from this season much to the disappointment of fans.

The Board has been battling to popularise domestic cricket by taking it to neutral venues at small centres. But the National championship will disappear from the circuit if the matches can’t be watched by die-hard cricket fans.

The official broadcasters have little role to play since the Board is in-charge of the production. The broadcasters would struggle to find space for the Ranji Trophy, which does not attract any sponsorship.

With two channels dedicated to the home series, the broadcasters are committed to promoting other sports like hockey, kabaddi and football.

The broadcaster had faced the embarrassment of hiding empty stands at Ranji Trophy matches until last year and this year’s decision should come as a relief to cameramen saddled with the task of not showing empty seats.

This move would also hurt some former players contracted for commentary work. But there is some encouraging news that the telecast may start with the quarterfinals. Those connected with the developments are keeping their fingers crossed.

It all depends on the Board which is presently locked in a dispute with the Justice Lodha Committee on various administration-related issues.

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