Mumbai: All Ranji Trophy matches from the 2012-13 season onwards will be played at neutral venues, the BCCI has decided. The decision, taken at the board's working committee meeting in Chennai on Monday, will reduce home-team advantage in the Ranji Trophy and deny teams the opportunity to prepare pitches that suit their strengths.
After the meeting, BCCI president N Srinivasan said there was no need yet for an inquiry into the Indian team's poor form away from home. However, the board has taken some steps to develop cricket within the country, with the use of neutral venues for Ranji matches the biggest change
The BCCI had introduced neutral venues for Ranji knockout matches in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 season but the move was opposed by some senior players. India have lost their previous eight away Tests, with some of the blame being appointed to the fact that domestic players are not exposed to varied conditions. The use of neutral venues may also produce more result-oriented pitches; there were 34 draws out of 56 games in the 2011-12 Ranji season.
The board has also announced plans for a new academy in Bangalore, the location of the National Cricket Academy. "The process is on and the budget is in the range of Rs 100 crore," Srinivasan said. There will also be India A and Under-19 tours of the West Indies, England, Australia and South Africa over the next few years. "It will start with the India A team touring West Indies in June," Srinivasan said.