Ranji Trophy set to be held between February and June
India's premier First-class tournament, the Ranji Trophy, will be held over two phases between February 10 and June 26, 2022. As many as nine venues across India will host the tournament. The first phase of the tournament is scheduled to be held between February 10 and March 15. Meanwhile, the knockouts will take place after the conclusion of the 2022 Indian Premier League.
- The Ranji Trophy is India's premier domestic championship where multiple teams representing regional and state cricket associations compete.
- A total of 38 teams take part in the tournament.
- The tourney is named after former Indian cricketer Ranjitsinhji, who was also known as 'Ranji'.
- Notably, Mumbai have won the Ranji Trophy 41 times, the most by any team.
- Saurashtra are the defending champions.
The first phase of the tournament (league stage) will be held between February 10 and March 15. This phase includes 38 teams and 57 matches. Meanwhile, the knockouts will take place between May 30 and June 26, after the IPL 2022. Rajkot, Cuttack, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Trivandrum, Delhi, Haryana, and Guwahati will host the Elite Group matches. The Plate matches will take place in Kolkata.
The 2022 Ranji Trophy edition will see 64 matches played in 62 days. There will be nine groups - eight Elite and one Plate. While the Elite group comprises four teams, the Plate group will have six. Each team will play three matches each during the league phase. Elite teams will face all other sides in their group, with the Plate teams facing three.
The top seven teams from the Elite groups will automatically qualify for the quarter-finals in the tournament. Besides, Elite Group's lowest-ranked qualified team would face the top-ranked side from the Plate group in a pre-quarterfinal match.
As per the original schedule, the 2022 Ranji Trophy was supposed to start on January 13. However, it got postponed indefinitely due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in India. BCCI secretary Jay Shah clarified that the tournament will have "bio-secure bubbles to mitigate any potential risk". "The board is committed to providing a healthy and secure environment," he wrote to state associations.
Saurashtra will enter the tournament as the defending champions. They defeated Bengal in the 2019/20 final to win their first title in 69 years. It was Saurashtra's fourth Ranji Trophy final in seven seasons. The 2020/21 season of the Ranji Trophy got canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, the tournament was called off for the first time since its inception in 1934/35.