After a long wait of 2-years of pandemic, Ranji Trophy has returned to the domestic circuit of Indian Cricket. With the reinstitution of Ranji, one can say the principal actor of the crew has now finally reached the center stage and thus the director is no longer worried about the performance of the play.
It’s is in true sense the back-bone of Indian cricket. Playing Ranji, youngsters as well veterans of the game polish their mettle and enhance their character as a cricketer; the first couple of weeks of the 2022 season offers a huge example of that.
The Ranji Trophy is the backbone of Indian cricket. The moment you start ignoring it our cricket will be SPINELESS!
— Ravi Shastri (@RaviShastriOfc) January 28, 2022
Test cricket is the Ultimate:
Test-cricket, the longest format of the game, consisting of history and literature with subtle variety and humor, is now struggling for space in a crowded market. T-20 is where the cheers of newcomers to cricket tend to flock. But t-20 is only a taster of what cricket has to offer. In order to realize the sport in best ways, one has to turn to the red ball format. In a world where everything is changing so rapidly, there is comfort to be had in watching and taking part in a sport (especially the test format) that is so tied to tradition and discipline.
However, bigger of a record one might hold in white-ball format, the ultimate judgement of temperament of a batter or a bowler is passed on basis of his test records. And if you don’t play Test at all then a true lover of cricket will surely raise eyebrows at you, as if questioning you that are you a complete cricketer? Hence what we conclude is “All hail test-cricket because it is the penultimate!”
All of this pretty much explains now as to why Ranji has been regarded as the main actor of the play (Indian domestic cricket) and without it, the show will never go on!
Importance of Ranji:
After so many hard yards by the BCCI and the players themselves, the talent pool of Indian cricket is full to the brim. But with such a huge reserve of raw talent managing them as well as preserving them well becomes utmost important. This is where Ranji takes command. There are several cricketers who are at the fringes of the national side who completely rely on domestic cricket to get noticed.
The Ranji Trophy is back 🏆
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) February 17, 2022
The last Ranji Trophy season was cancelled due to the pandemic and this season’s tournament has been postponed, with the Indian Cricket Board is organizing it across two stages. This news had surely taken away the piece of mind of several of such cricketers and those who are somehow connected with it; the match officials, the groundman, the scorers and the rest; Financially for some it’s bread and butter.
Players expressing their love for the Ranji Games:
Before the start of the tournament, Saurashtra leader Jaydev Unadkat delivered his love for the red ball game; even though it did raise some confusion among the fans whether the left-hander was hanging his shoes of the format.
Dear red ball, please give me one more chance.. I’ll make you proud, promise! pic.twitter.com/ThPUOpRlyR
— Jaydev Unadkat (@JUnadkat) January 4, 2022
Jaydev Unadkat: I miss the feeling of setting the batsman up. I miss that feeling of swinging the red ball both ways and watching the batsman struggle. When I bowled in the practice sessions in January, the way the ball was moving and coming out of the hand was as good as it used to be a couple of years back, when I was going through possibly the best time of my career, so I was very excited for this Ranji season [2021-22]. That was why I put out that tweet, hoping the Ranji season would happen this time.
I last bowled with a red ball in a first-class match in the 2019-’20 Ranji Final and I was so proud to win the title and finish with 67-wickets. That season gave me fresh hopes of playing for India again, but without any accompanying stress of “will I, won’t I?” (Unadkat interviewed to ESPNcricinfo)
It’s a platform for some to earn the bread and butter:
Abhimanyu Easwaran who in his last two Ranji seasons had 1119 runs at 46.62 from 16 matches for Bengal, was found saying “I first felt confident about after my second Ranji season, in 2014-15, when the Cricket Association of Bengal gave me the Best Cricketer of the Year trophy. The pandemic has changed everything. I am 26, but in the absence of domestic cricket, I am left in the cold, like several hundred other players.”
Faiz Fazal form Vidarbha: Last two Ranji seasons: 1268 runs at 46.96 from 19 matches, was found saying:
“As a team, we were training hard for this season’s Ranji Trophy, until we got told on January 4 that the tournament was being put off indefinitely. Since then, I haven’t touched my bat. We’re all confused. It feels like suddenly there is nothing to look forward to.”
Not only youngsters like them are distressed but postponing of Ranji has all is been a grave concern for veterans like Rahane and Pujara whose forms in test cricket is continually dropping and they don’t have the platform to polish their techniques and prove their stability on the big stage once again.
Return of Ranji After a Gap of 706 Days:
The latest season of the Ranji Trophy has returned as 38 teams will compete outright to clinch the historic trophy. This news has surely made many of the cricketers heave a sigh of relief! “I am pleased to share that we are now truly set to resume both international and domestic cricket with full thrust.” BCCI president Jay Shah wrote in his press release. “The coming months are going to be replete with cricketing action. We have waited patiently for the grip of pandemic to loosen, and the time has come for our cricketers to take centre-stage all over again.”
38 teams will compete in two categories; 32 Elite category teams which will be divided into eight groups of four while six Plate category teams will consist of the rest. All the Elite teams play every other group member once at the allocated venue, with the regular points system while teams in the Plate group will play three matches each. The entire group phase will take place before the Indian Premier League (IPL) season while the knock-out stage will take place after the premier competition’s conclusion.
Key dates and venues:
- February 17 to March 15 – Group Stage with 57 matches
- May 30 to June 26 – Knock-out stage with 7 matches
- Elite matches’ venue – Rajkot, Cuttack, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Trivandrum, Delhi, Haryana and Guwahati
- Plate league venue – Kolkata
**The dates and venues may change because of having not enough data on the said points.
Top Three Batters of the Ranji Trophy till 6th March:
|Taruwar Sushil Kohli||Punjab||3||6||526||131.50|
Top Three Bowlers of the Ranji Trophy till 27th February:
|Telukupalli Ravi Teja||Hyderabad||3||93.5||20||14.95|
The Top Teams of Every Group after the first 2-weeks:
Elite Group A: Madhya Pradesh
Elite Group B: Bengal
Elite Group C: Karnataka
Elite Group D: Mumbai
Elite Group E: Uttarakhand
Elite Group F: Punjab
Elite Group G: Maharashtra
Elite Group H: Jharkhand
PLATE: Manipur & Nagaland.
The Final of the Ranji Trophy 2022 is expected to be in June, 2022.