Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], January 28 (ANI): 0 and Mumbai batter Ajinkya Rahane has called for the group stage Ranji Trophy matches to be played over five days instead of four days.
Currently, only matches from the quarterfinal onwards are played for five days, with the group stage matches lasting only four days.
Rahane was speaking after his side's group stage exit from the 2022-23 edition of the prestigious tournament. They needed just a first-innings lead to qualify for quarters, but they tied their first-innings score with Maharashtra on the third day, leaving them with only an option of an outright win. After bowling out Maharashtra midway through the final day, Mumbai needed 253 runs in 28 overs. Knocks from Divyaansh Saxena (62), Suved Parkar (38*) skipper Rahane (35) were promising, but their side, 41-time Ranji champions, finished at 195/6 when the time was up.
"First-class cricket can become five-day cricket. We play Test matches over five days and in five days the possibility of a result is almost guaranteed. You will get more results. Every game should be result-oriented," said Rahane as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
"In four-day games, on flat decks, you do not really get results. We tried to get as many results as possible, but it becomes challenging. In five-day cricket, that will happen more frequently. I don't know how it can be fit into the calendar, but five-day cricket will make domestic cricketers get used to the rigours of first-class cricket," added Rahane.
Rahane opined that stretching the matches by three sessions will sharpen the survival instincts and ensure a more smoother transition to Tests at the international level.
"If you play out a session, you can save a match in four-day games, but if you are made to slog for three more sessions, it will give them a better opportunity to develop better Test cricketers. It can automatically be carried forward into international cricket," said the veteran middle-order batter.
"How to survive sessions, how to be disciplined with the ball, all these factors can be taken care of if we play all Ranji Trophy games over five days. Anyway, the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final are five-day games. If it is implemented in the league [stage], nothing like that," added Rahane.
Rahane expressed disappointment at not being able to make it to the knockouts, but pointed out that the team was a group of young players hungry for first-class success.
Two of these players include Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sarfaraz Khan, who have performed exceedingly well in red-ball cricket. Prasad Pawar also scored a gritty ton against Maharashtra. Prithvi Shaw also got the reward with a national side recall recently after scoring runs in domestic cricket.
"I am extremely disappointed that we could not qualify for the knockouts. This bunch definitely takes red-ball cricket seriously. And my message to everyone is you should enjoy four-day cricket. Everyone wants instant success but patience, focus and determination is critical for this format," said Rahane.
"Not only on the field but the daily routine that we follow - getting up early, the warm-ups, going through the rigour even if you have not performed, to be disciplined all through four days, backing your team-mates - one has to enjoy all these aspects. Only scoring runs or picking up wickets is not important. That's temporary but the real fun is when you follow the process day in and day out."
"Even if things do not go your way in two-three games. There are many boys who enjoy going through it in the red-ball format. And I have told all of them that you have to enjoy every moment because this is real cricket," concluded Rahane. (ANI)