Duleep Trophy will be a knockout tournament this season

December 10th, 2008 - 9:38 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 10 (IANS) The unavailability of an overseas team has forced the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to convert the Duleep Trophy into a knock-out tournament.The concept of inviting overseas teams for playing in India’s inter-zonal tournament was mooted in 2003-04. Since then every year an overseas team has taken part in the tournament alongside the five zones. The six teams were divided into two groups and the group winners played the final.

Teams from England, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka played in the Duleep Trophy in the last four seasons, but this time the board failed to rope in an overseas team as the tournament clashed with domestic seasons in other countries.

South Zone and Central Zone, the teams which finished at the bottom of their respective groups last season, will play in Bangalore from Jan 22 and the winners of the match will face holders North Zone in the one semi-final at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. East Zone will clash with West Zone in another semi-final at Rajkot.

The final will be held in Chennai from Feb 5.

There is a change in the Ranji Trophy schedule as well. With the Twenty20 Champions League postponed indefinitely, the board has decided to space out the knockout matches.

There will be a four-day gap between the last league match and the quarter-finals instead of three originally fixed and a six-day gap between quarter-finals and semi-finals as against two.

The quarter-finals will be player from Dec 26 and semi-finals from Jan 4.

Ahmedabad, Mumbai (Brabourne Stadium), Vadodara and Bangalore will host the quarter-finals, while the semi-finals will be played in Chennai and Nagpur. The final will start Jan 12 but the venue has not been decided.

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