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T20 is the best format to introduce new teams to the big boys: Saba Karim

New Delhi:The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has introduced nine new teams in the 2018-19 domestic season. Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Sikkim and Uttarakhand have been inducted keeping in mind the order of the Supreme Court and they will be a part of the plate group of the Ranji Trophy. But their first tryst with the big boys will come in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20.
While domestic powerhouse Mumbai will play Sikkim on the opening day of the T20 league — February 21 — 2017-18 Ranji runners-up Delhi take on Manipur on February 22. There seems to be little method to the madness as the big boys could actually demolish the new kids on the block, but BCCI GM (Cricket Operations) Saba Karim begs to differ.
“We thought it out and believe that T20 is the best format to introduce them to the big league. Any team can cause an upset in T20 cricket and that is why the new teams have been pitted against the big boys in this format. If you see, the Ranji Trophy format has the plate division for this very reason,” he explained.
The likes of Karim have strongly backed the introduction of the new teams into the system and he reiterated on Friday that the big teams should take the likes of Bihar, Puducherry and Uttarakhand lightly at their own peril.
“Some of the new teams like Bihar, Uttarakhand and Puducherry have been preparing very well and I am hopeful that they will do well. They shouldn’t be taken lightly. The North Eastern states also have some very fit boys. Yes, the skill part is being developed but you need to start somewhere. We need to give them chance expecting that they will become competitive,” he explained.
Karim went on to add that the BCCI is providing the new teams support by providing them not just on the ground, but also at the backend. While the backend staff have been given a year’s contract, the coaches and physios have been handed a contract of a season.
“Each new state is being provided four administrative staff comprising one to take care of finances, one for cricket operations and two for logistics. Along with this, four groundstaff — including one head curator, one maintenance manager and two assistant curators (BCCI accreditated) — will be provided.
“The states have been provided with six coaches, six physios and six trainers for their age-group teams as well as women’s team. It’s a one season tripartite agreement between the individual, state association and BCCI,” he revealed.