Two Ranji Trophy Winners, Girls’ Inaugural Under-16 Tournament in BCCI .’s New Domestic Schedule

In an effort to improve the quality of its premier competition, the BCCI has decided to split the Ranji Trophy into two categories: Elite and Plate. The tournament will run from December 13, 2022 to February 20, 2023, following the conclusion of the whiteball events.

Unlike before, where all 38 teams would compete for the same trophy, the 2022-23 domestic season will feature two Ranji Trophy winners.

This is to minimize the prospect of knockout mismatches, as we saw earlier this year when Jharkhand amassed a 1008 lead – the highest ever in first-class history – over Plate toppers Nagaland in the pre-quarter final.

Under the new format, 32 Elite teams will be divided into four groups of eight, with the top two from each group qualifying for the quarter-finals. This gives each team a minimum of seven matches in the competition phase.

In the Plate competition, six teams play each other once, with the top four advancing to the knockouts. The bottom two teams play in a play-off for fifth and sixth place.

Unlike currently, the Plate group topper will not cross over to play an Elite team in a pre-quarter final as they will be competing in a tournament of their own.

The two Plate finalists will be promoted to the Elite group for the 2023-24 season, while the bottom two teams from all four Elite groups combined – taking into account both points and quotient – are relegated.

The Return of Duleep Trophy & Irani Cup
The Duleep Trophy has been reintroduced after a three-season hiatus and will return to its original zonal competition format. This time around, the addition of a new zone from the Northeast – along with North, South, East, West and Central – will make it a six-team knockout competition that will kick off the national senior men’s calendar from September 8-25. . .

That will be followed by the Irani Cup match between 2021-22 Ranji Trophy champions Madhya Pradesh and a squad from the rest of India chosen by the national selectors on October 1. The Irani Cup was last played in 2018-19 when Vidarbha defeated Rest of India on the basis of a first inning lead.

The white ball leg
The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, India’s domestic T20 competition, will be held from October 11 to November 5, largely alongside the T20 World Cup. While it may not help players advocate for inclusion in the national team, it remains a platform for them to impress IPL talent scouts. This T20 competition is followed by the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Unlike the Ranji Trophy where teams compete for two separate trophies, the white ball tournaments will not have a separate Plate division, with the newer domestic teams being split into five different groups based on pre-tournament formats.

What’s in it for women’s cricket?

Quite a lot, which is a great sign as interest in the sport has increased following their silver medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. For the first time since BCCI took over women’s cricket in 2006, they are hosting an Under-16 tournament for girls. This is an important step towards identifying a talent pool they can cater for the Women’s Under-19 World Cup. The inaugural edition of this tournament, which had to be postponed twice due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will be played in T20 format in South Africa in January 2023.

Equally important is the reintroduction of the zonal women’s competition – in both T20 and 50-over format – to the seniors after five years. Then there’s also a T20 and 50-over competition for the Under-23s to ensure players who miss the bus at the Under-19s have another level to aim for.

When does the women’s season start?
With the Women’s T20 World Cup to be held in South Africa next February, the Senior Women’s T20 Trophy season will kick off from October 11 to November 5. This will be followed by the Interzonal T20s and a Challenger Trophy, all aimed at increasing playing time for the players, allowing selectors to broaden their choices before choosing their World Cup squad.

The women’s calendar, which generally extends well into April, will now end in February, with the BCCI using their March-April window for the inaugural Women’s IPL, plans for which are underway, according to Sourav Ganguly. The BCCI is considering starting a five or six team tournament and the matter will be discussed at the BCCI AGM in September.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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