Ranji Trophy 2022-23: Everything you need to know
The 88th edition of the Ranji Trophy commences on December 13. The premium domestic tournament will be played over a 10-week long interval. Veteran Ajinkya Rahane will captain 41-time winners Mumbai. The likes of Ishant Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara will make their presence felt as well. Reigning champions Madhya Pradesh will be looking to defend their crown. Here are further details.
Changes in the Ranji Trophy 2022-23 format
As per a report on ESPNcricinfo, there is a massive change in the format of the competition. 38 participating teams have been divided into two groups - Elite and Plate, meaning there will be two separate winners this time around. The Elite group comprises four groups (A-D) of eight teams each. Meanwhile, the Plate group will feature a total of six teams.
Why does this story matter?
- The BCCI opted for a change in format in a bid to avoid mismatches that may arise due to the involvement of Elite and Plate teams.
- The 2021-22 season witnessed a few mismatches: Jharkhand clobbering a record 1,008-run lead over Nagaland and Mumbai clinching a record 725-run win over Uttarakhand in the quarter-finals.
- The BCCI intends to cut such mismatches and develop healthy competition.
A look at the details
The top two sides from Elite groups will play the quarter-finals after a league stage comprising an equal number of home and away games. In Plate, each team plays the other five, with the top four reaching the semi-finals. The bottom two sides will partake in a playoff for the fifth and sixth. There will also be a playoff for the third and fourth.
Plate finalists to be promoted to the Elite group
Interestingly, the two Plate finalists will be promoted to the Elite Group for the 2023-24 season. Meanwhile, the bottom two sides of each of the four Elite groups combined will be relegated once their points and quotient are factored in.
Here are the important dates
The Plate group final will take place between January 25-29. Meanwhile, the quarter-finals for the teams in the Elite group will be held from January 31-February 4. The semi-finals will take place from February 8-12. The final is scheduled for February 16-20.
Key players to watch out for
Rahane has slammed 12,231 FC runs at 46.68. Pujara will be available for the league phase after the first two rounds. He is with Team India for the Test series in Bangladesh. Rising sensation Yash Dhull will be captaining Delhi in the 2022-23 edition. He has scored 820 FC runs at 74.54. Bengal seamer Mukesh Kumar owns 123 FC wickets at 21.49 (5WI: 6).
Who were the top performers in the Ranji Trophy 2021-22?
Mumbai's Sarfaraz Khan topped the scoring charts last season, amassing a staggering 982 runs at 122.75. He clocked four tons and two fifties (HS: 275). Madhya Pradesh's Rajat Patidar (658) and Nagaland's Chetan Bist (623) trailed him. On the bowling front, Mumbai all-rounder Shams Mulani clipped 45 wickets at 16.75. MP's Kumar Kartikeya (32) and Jharkhand's Shahbaz Nadeem (25) pocketed the second and third-most scalps, respectively.