No weekend matches for Ranji Trophy
All the seven rounds of league matches begin on Tuesday and end on Friday
Indian domestic cricket’s principal red-ball competition Ranji Trophy is back being played to its full duration (70 days), starting December 13. But so unimaginative has the scheduling been that all the seven rounds of league matches begin on Tuesdays, end on Fridays and offer cricket fans no opportunity of weekend viewing.
With the tournament returning to its popular home and away format and being played across the country, including at several small centres, some of those venues would have attracted good on-ground spectator interest. Besides, live streamed domestic matches are also better received on weekends. This season, it’s only the semi-finals and the Ranji final, starting February 16 that will be played over the weekend.
The tournament format has been tweaked with the two best teams each from the four Elite groups qualifying for the quarter-finals. The Plate Group finalists will be promoted to Elite next year.
Defending champions Madhya Pradesh have been placed in Group D with Punjab, Vidarbha, Railways, Gujarat, Chandigarh and Tripura. Runners-up and 41-times champions Mumbai are in Group B with Saurashtra, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Assam.
The domestic season is already underway with the Duleep trophy being played at Chennai, Puducherry and Coimbatore. There are two Irani Cup matches being played in the season with the 2019-20 Ranji champions Saurashtra – there was no Irani Cup for 2 seasons due to Covid - getting a match against Rest of India starting October 1. Reigning Ranji Champions Madhya Pradesh will get their match at the end of the season.
In the case of the Mushtaq Ali T20s (Oct 11- Nov 5) and Vijay Hazare ODIs (Nov 12 – Dec 2), some rounds of league matches have been scheduled over the weekend.
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