Change is going to be the flavour of the 2012-13 Indian domestic cricket season. The new season, which begins in September, will bring along many alterations that will hopefully combine to raise the standard of the game in India.In the real sense, the prelude to the ‘season of change’ has well and truly begun, with many alterations being suggested/implemented to several aspects of domestic cricket. Be it the change in the Ranji Trophy format/points system or a fresh resolve to prepare sporting pitches, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is getting its act together.Also in the new season, the three regional academies are expected to start functioning even as the National Cricket Academy’s budget breaks the Rs 20-crore barrier. The BCCI has also decided to respect government rules on taxes and other legislation, and will not immediately challenge them, as it has been doing over the years.For the first time in many years, both the intent and purpose of the BCCI looks genuine. From a purely cricketing point of view, the changes in the Ranji Trophy format and the revised points system augur well. There have been demands to give the 12 teams in the lower division more opportunities to compete with stronger ones.Any change in the points system and teams’ groupings without providing sporting pitches will yield nothing. So, the BCCI has decided to take care of this important aspect too. And, as a first step, a three-week certification course for curators is currently being held in Mohali to assist them in embracing scientific methods and modern technology in preparing pitches, besides taking other required steps. “We will implement the new methods learnt here in our grounds for the upcoming seasons. The top layer of pitches are going to be changed,” Samandar Singh Chouhan, curator of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association, told Mail Today from Mohali.advertisementAlso, the spadework for the smooth launch of the three regional academies is under way. Once the Rs 20-crore budget is passed by the working committee on Monday, the path will be paved for another big leap in honing the talent of youngsters as well as treating injured players at these centres, as NCA chairman MP Pandove, a former first-class player, envisages.Another laudable step is the move to check age fraud in junior cricket. On a proposal from veteran doctor Vece Paes, the BCCI has embraced the virtually fool-proof TW3 bone age maturation tests for boys under 16.This method has been accepted globally and it promises to end the debate over which method to embrace to ascertain that genuine boys are selected. All in all, the new domestic season is set to herald many changes that will, hopefully, raise the standard of domestic cricket, bring more transparency in selection, and provide more options to the national selectors while picking the various teams.===Scindia setting it straightJyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia, president of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association.Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia, president of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association, is unlike the typical Indian sports administrator. As chairman of the BCCI’s finance committee he has brought a fresh, professional way of working to the Board.According to BCCI sources, Scindia means business whenever he conducts meetings of the finance committee. “He wants everything in order,” a source told MAIL TODAY. “More importantly, he doesn’t live off cricket. He doesn’t even accept Board’s allowances for attending meetings, like former president Shashank Manohar, who also used to spend from his pocket while travelling for Board’s meetings.”That Scindia, 41 and a member of Lok Sabha, has an MBA obviously adds to his strength. After graduating from Doon School, he attended Harvard University in the US and Stanford University, a graduate school of business, in California.Scindia at times asks hard questions even to his seniors in BCCI. One such occasion was the working committee meeting in December 2010, when he seemed to have ruffled some feathers.”Some of his questions are pinching. He asked questions pertaining to finances and they seemed to have annoyed some senior officials,” said someone who attended the meeting in Mumbai.”And now he wants to bring order to the working of the finance committee. For instance, he wants the associations to take advance subsidy and return it on time; basically, he wants a system in place,” he said. “He is very strict with accounts.”===With the Indian athletes set to compete at the Olympics, it is worth knowing how much money the government has spent on their preparation. According to the sports ministry, a total of Rs 135.29 crore have been spent so far on the contingent. Of this amount, Rs 65.05 crore have been used for the various coaching camps and Rs 70.24 crore on foreign exposure of the London-bound athletes. The shooters, widely considered among the best medal prospects, have received the lion’s share of the 16 sports disciplines in which India will be competing. Rs 22.72 crore have been spent on them while Rs 18.90 crore has been used to prepare the men’s hockey team, which has qualified after eight years.advertisementSolo SAI man for LondonDesh Deepak Verma.The upcoming Olympic Games in London must be the first occasion in a long time when a lone Sports Authority of India (SAI) official would be attending the greatest sports show on earth. Actually, SAI had forwarded a list containing a few more names but the government turned all of them down, barring that of director general Desh Deepak Verma, who joined the body in May last year. However, in less than a year Verma, a 1978 batch IAS officer from the Uttar Pradesh cadre, was transferred out of the SAI, on July 3. Verma has been promoted to the post of a secretary of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. Now, instead of him, SAI secretary Gopal Krishna, who is standing in for Verma, is likely to go to London for the 30th Olympics, said a SAI official. “I would have liked to go to watch the Olympics. But I won’t be going now,” said Verma.