The Board of Control of Cricket in India ( BCCI) is planning to start the coveted Ranji Trophy tournament on January 13. After a five-day quarantine and two-day practice, the teams, divided into six groups, will play their matches in Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Trivandrum, and Chennai.
The knockouts are scheduled to take place at Kolkata starting on February 20 after another round of five-day quarantine. The five-day quarter-finals are from February 28 to March 3 and the semi-finals will be from March 8 to 12. The final has been scheduled for March 16-20.
In a complete schedule of the domestic season, circulated among the state units on Monday (August 30), the BCCI has also informed the teams about the groupings. There are six groups, including five Elite ones of six teams each and one plate group consisting of eight teams
Group C appears to be the group of death with former champions and domestic powerhouses Mumbai, Karnataka, and Delhi clubbed together along with Hyderabad, Maharashtra (also former champions), and Uttarakhand. Defending champions Saurashtra are in the Elite D group with Tamil Nadu, Railways, J&K, Jharkhand, and Goa.
The circulation of the full schedule puts to rest speculation on whether the Ranji Trophy will be held this season at all. It had to be canceled last year because of the pandemic.
The Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 tournament starts on November 4 at six places – Lucknow, Guwahati, Baroda, Delhi, Haryana (city not mentioned), and Vijayawada. The knockouts will be in Delhi from November 16 with the final slated for November 22. The BCCI has not released the names of the venues for the Vijay Hazare Trophy 50-over competition. It will run from December 8 to 27.
The Men’s State A one-day competition is from November 20 to December 10 with matches in Rajkot, Pondicherry, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mohali, and Guwahati. The knockouts have been allotted to Bangalore. Men’s Under-25 four-day championship for the CK Nayudu Trophy is from January 28 to March 31 with matches taking place at Nagpur, Hyderabad, Vijaywada, Mohali, Jaipur, and Ranchi. Vijaywada will host the knockouts.
Ranji Trophy Groupings:
Elite A: Gujarat, Punjab, Himachal, Madhya Pradesh, Services, and Assam (in Mumbai)
Elite B: Bengal, Vidarbha, Rajasthan, Kerala, Haryana, and Tripura (in Bangalore)
Elite C: Karnataka, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Maharashtra, and Uttarakhand (in Kolkata)
Elite D: Saurashtra, Tamil Nadu, Railways, J & K, Jharkhand, and Goa (in Ahmedabad)
Elite E: Andhra, Uttar Pradesh, Baroda, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Pondicherry (in Trivandrum)
Plate: Chandigarh, Meghalaya, Bihar, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Sikkim, Arunachal (in Chennai)