The Ranji Trophy is an Indian domestic first-class cricket competition in which various teams representing regional and state cricket associations compete. There are presently 38 teams in the league, including representatives from each of India’s 28 states and four of the eight union territories. The competition is named after Ranjitsinhji, often known as ‘Ranji,’ the first Indian player to play international cricket. Here in this article, we talk about What is Ranji Trophy in detail.
The Ranji Trophy has grown in popularity over the years, and it now has a stature similar to country cricket, which is popular in England. In fact, the Ranji Trophy has evolved into a breeding ground for some of India’s top cricketers, with players being selected for the Indian national team based on their success in Ranji matches. The format of the tournament has evolved several times over the years, and it is now divided into two tiers. One of the most distinguishing elements of the series is that, in addition to regional cricket boards from various states, government teams, such as the Railways team and numerous other teams associated with government enterprises, compete in the event.
The teams were divided into four or five zones – North, West, East, and South – from the beginning of the Ranji Trophy until the 2001 season (with the exception of the 1948–49 season). Central was introduced in 1952–53. To choose a winner, the first matches were played on a knock-out basis within the zones until 1956–57, and then on a league system; thereafter, the five individual zone winners competed in a knock-out competition, resulting in a final that decided the winner of the Ranji Trophy.
In the 2002–03 season, the zonal system was replaced with a two-division structure, with the Elite Group including fifteen clubs and the Plate Group containing the remaining teams. Each group had two round-robin sub-groups, with the top two from each Elite sub-group competing in a four-team knock-out event to determine the Ranji Trophy winner. Both Plate Group finalists were promoted for the following season, and the team that placed last in each Elite sub-group was relegated. The Super League and Plate League were renamed Super League and Plate League, respectively, for the 2006–07 season.
In the 2012-13 season the names Super League and Plate League were dropped, and the two-tier system persisted. The top tier was increased from fifteen to eighteen teams, divided into two sub-groups of nine (known as Group A and Group B, and regarded equivalent in rank); and the second tier was lowered to nine teams in a single group (known as Group C) (known as Group C). The knockout phase features the top three teams from Groups A and B, as well as the top two teams from Group C. The bottom two teams from Groups A and B are demoted to Group C, while the top two from Group C are promoted to the top league.
The tournament is played in a round-robin format. Round-robin matches take four days to complete, while knockout matches take five days. If a Ranji Trophy knock-out match has no outright winner, the team leading after the first innings has always been declared the winner.
Over the years, Ranji Trophy has had a dominant winner in Mumbai who has won the title 41 times. The next is Karnataka which has won it 8 times. With Delhi, Baroda, and Holkar following at 7,5, and 4 times respectively. Other teams have won the tournament once or twice with a few smaller teams like Services and Bihar not getting the opportunity to win the tournament ever.
Ranji Trophy is regarded as one of the most important Cricket tournaments played in India. It is from here that players for the national squad are selected. But for the past few years, its popularity has decreased manifolds. Since the commencement of IPL, it seems to have replaced the trophy to be a platform for players to perform and be selected for the national team.