Season to kick off with Senior Women’s One Day League on September 21
The Ranji Trophy will return to the Indian domestic calendar for the 2021-22 season after a Covid-19-induced cancellation in 2020-21. It will be part of a full 2127-match domestic calendar for the coming season, with the BCCI announcing on Saturday that it would hold all tournaments, including for the various age groups and the women. The Ranji Trophy has been slotted into a three-month window, from November 16, 2021 to February 19, 2022.
The 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy will follow the Ranji Trophy’s conclusion, beginning four days after the Ranji Trophy is scheduled to end. The Vijay Hazare will run from February 23 to March 26.
While the Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare trophies were both held last season, the longer window needed for the Ranji Trophy, India’s premier first-class competition, in its traditional home-and-away format was not possible because of the Covid-19 restrictions. It was the first time the Ranji Trophy had not been played since its inception in 1934-35, with the tournament having taken place even during World War II.
The BCCI is yet to release details of venues and other logistical matters for the season, though it said in a press release signed by secretary Jay Shah: “The BCCI is confident of hosting the domestic season with health and safety of players and all people involved being paramount.”
The format for all three senior men’s competitions is expected to remain the same as earlier, accommodating the 38 teams in the fray. There will be three Elite Groups in the Ranji Trophy and the Vijay Hazare Trophy – A, B and C – and the Plate Group. Groups A and B will have nine teams each, while Group C and the Plate Group will have ten teams. The Mushtaq Ali Trophy will have five groups: A, B, C, D and E. Groups A and B will each have seven teams each, with the other three will have eight teams each.
Is the Women’s T20 Challenge on?
The women’s one-day Challenger Trophy will follow the Senior Women’s One-Day League, from October 27 to 31, and the timing of the tournaments puts a question mark over the 2021 edition of the Women’s T20 Challenge.
There is, however, a Women’s T20 League scheduled from March 19 to April 11.