The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the groups and venues for the upcoming Ranji Trophy 2021-22 and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The groups for Vijay Hazare Trophy have also been announced.
Kolkata to host the final of Ranji Trophy 2021-22
After the long wait, finally, India’s domestic season will kickstart with the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on November 4. The Ranji Trophy will start on January 5, 2022, while the Vijay Hazare Trophy will get underway from December 8. Neutral venues will be used across all tournaments. The hosts for India’s biggest domestic tournament league matches are – Mumbai (Elite A), Bengaluru (Elite B), Kolkata (Elite C), Ahmedabad (Elite D), Trivandrum (Elite E), and Chennai (Plate). Kolkata will host the knockouts from February 20, with the Ranji Trophy final scheduled from March 16 to 20.
Ranji Trophy Groups
Elite Group C is the group of death that comprises heavyweights Mumbai, Karnataka, and Delhi along with Hyderabad, Maharashtra, and Uttrakhand. Defending champions Saurashtra are in Elite Group D along with Tamil Nadu, Railways, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, and Goa. The Elite Group B consists of last year’s runners-up Bengal along with Vidarbha, Haryana, Kerala, Tripura, and Rajasthan. Elite Group A comprises Gujarat, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Services, and Assam. The Elite Group E includes Andhra, Uttar Pradesh, Baroda, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Pondicherry.
Change in Ranji Trophy Format
The format of the Ranji Trophy would also witness a significant change, after the revised schedule. The 38 teams would now be divided into five Elite and a Plate group. Each of the Elite group toppers will secure direct entry into the quarter-finals. The second-placed teams from each of the five Elite Groups and the topper of the Plate group will play three pre-quarter-finals to decide the other qualifiers.
Cap on players, support staff
Earlier, the BCCI has mentioned that each team can have a maximum of 30 members. Out of which, there should at least be 20 players and 10 other members include staff. BCCI has informed the state associations to pick a team physician in each of the squads to manage COVID-19 related issues.
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