Cricket news - Onus on players to make restart a success: Roger Binny

With the tournament restricted to Bengaluru-based teams, as many as 118 matches will be held across 20 grounds in the city.

With the tournament restricted to Bengaluru-based teams, as many as 118 matches will be held across 20 grounds in the city.

The two backlog finals a couple of days ago served as teasers as the Karnataka State Cricket Association is all set to make a fresh start amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The KSCA season, which was set for an April start but postponed indefinitely, will begin on Friday with the YS Ramaswamy tournament, played in the 50-over format.

Though there were apprehensions about the start of the season, the number of entries - a record 133 - suggests that players are itching to get back on the field. With this tournament, the KSCA will test the waters before planning the way forward.

With the tournament restricted to Bengaluru-based teams, as many as 118 matches will be held across 20 grounds in the city with the ground staff working overtime to ensure the grounds are match-ready after an eight-month break.

Speaking to TOI about the resumption of cricket in the state, Roger Binny, KSCA president, said: "Once the lockdown was lifted, a lot of players told us that they wanted to start training and even made queries about the season. But given the situation, we had to tread carefully because safety of the stakeholders, which includes the players and officials, is top priority. It is never easy to have 30 people together in a place in the current circumstances. Thankfully, cricket is played outdoors."

On the process KSCA followed in the build-up to the season, the former India all-rounder explained: "We took the clubs into confidence. We left the choice of participating to them and underlined the fact that there was no compulsion to play or consequences for not playing. We moved forward when we were confident that all of us were on the same page."

Binny, a 1983 World Cup hero, pointed out that he understood a player's perspective and their urge to return to the field.

"In our days we would wait for the season to start after the break which would be a couple of months.

But here, the players have been out of action for eight months, so I can relate to the fact that they are itching to compete again."

Binny felt the onus was on the players to ensure the tournament went on without a hitch. "They are all responsible individuals. While each venue will be monitored, each player has to take it upon himself to ensure he follows the SOPS to the 'T'. Not many states have resumed competition, if we have, the success of it depends how they follow protocols. I'm sure the players realise what is at stake for the association and them," he pointed out and added the office bearers will visit the venues periodically.

Binny said depending on how the YSR tournament panned out, the KSCA would look at hosting the Safi Darashah tournament. "Going forward we will look at hosting the Safi Darashah tournament which will give the players a chance to test themselves in the longer format. Once the BCCI releases the domestic calendar, we will play the rest of the tournaments for men, women and age-group players as well."

Binny added that action would resume at mofussil centres in due course. "We don't want to rush anything. We can stretch the season even till May-June because we have always continued with our leagues even during IPL." We will draw out a plan for resumption in other centres soon."