The Ranji Dossier
5th October 2017
Named after Ranjitsinhji, the tournament began in 1934-35 as 'The Cricket Championship of India' before being rechristened. The competition was launched following a meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India in July 1934, with the first fixtures taking place in 1934–35. The trophy was donated by Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala. The first match of the competition was held on 4 November 1934 between Madras and Mysore at Chepauk. M. J. Gopalan of Madras bowled the first ball to N. Curtis. The first Ranji Trophy Championship was won by Bombay after they defeated North India in the final. Mumbai (formerly Bombay) have won the tournament the most number of times with 41 wins including 15 back-to-back wins from 1958–59 to 1972–73.
No team in the history of Ranji Trophy has ever recorded title victories in double digits, barring Mumbai. Among teams that featured in the early stages of the Ranji Trophy, there are several which are now defunct, including four-time champions Holkar. Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh became the latest entrant in the tournament when they made their Ranji Trophy debut in the previous season.
Most Ranji titles:
Bombay/Mumbai – 41, Karnataka – 8, Delhi – 7, Baroda – 5, Holkar - 4, Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Hyderabad and Maharashtra-2
Until the 2001-02 season, the initial stage of Ranji Trophy was held as a zonal tournament before the top teams competed in the knock-out stages. In the 2002-03 season, the zonal format was scrapped in favour of a two-tier system - Elite and Plate Group. While the top two teams from each Elite group proceeded to the knockouts, the bottom ones were relegated to the Plate Group for the subsequent season. Meanwhile, the reward for making it to the Plate Group final earned the two teams a promotion to the Elite group for the following season.
In 2008-09, a further adjustment was made to the format giving the Plate teams a chance of competing for the trophy. The top-two sides of the Plate Group teams competed for two spots in an eight-team knock-out tournament which featured six Elite teams. Making the most of this tweak in the format, Rajasthan, which started as a Plate team in 2010-11 went on to win the Ranji Trophy title.
In 2012-13 it was decided that the teams would be divided into three Groups. The two-tier system, however, was still retained as Group A and B featured the elite teams and those joining them as a result of promotions, while the relegation system also continued with bottom-placed teams of these groups being moved to C for the next season.
The two-tier system had the lower-rung teams at a disadvantage. It was finally been done away with as the 2017-18 edition of the Ranji Trophy and will see all 28 teams compete on equal footing. A four-group system has been introduced for the first time with seven teams featuring in each group, and the top two from each group will proceed to the quarter-finals.
The BCCI Technical Committee has also dumped the neutral venue concept of the previous season, which raised several objections and caused dwindling attendances at venues. However, the knock-out stages will still be played at neutral venues. Meanwhile, by adding an extra group, each team will play two games less than what they did last season, with three home games and three away games scheduled for the group stage of this edition.
A: Assam, Delhi, Hyderabad, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Railways, Uttar Pradesh
B: Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Team Rajasthan, Saurashtra
C: Andhra Pradesh, Baroda, Madhya Pradesh, Mumbai, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Tripura
D: Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Services, Vidarbha
Outright win - 6 points
Bonus point - 1 point for victories by an innings or 10 wickets
Drawn game, earning 1st innings lead - 3 points
Drawn game, conceding 1st innings lead - 1 point
No result - 1 point
Outright loss - 0 points
CAB MEDIA DESK
Collated by Arindam Basu