Ranji Trophy is India’s domestic first-class cricket competition which is played between multiple states as well as regional associations. The competition is named after the first Indian cricketer to play international cricket, Colonel H. H. Shri Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji II, Jam Saheb of Nawanagar, often known as Ranji or K. S. Ranjitsinhji.
The inaugural edition of the Ranji Trophy was played in the 1934-35 season with Mumbai (Bombay) emerging as the first-ever champions.
Over the years, the tournament has observed several changes in the format. Until 2001, the teams were categorized into five different zones, namely, North, West, East, South and Central. The central zone was added ahead of the 1952-53 season.
Before the 2002-03 season, the zonal system was replaced by a two-division structure involving the Elite Group and the Plate Group. The Elite Group consisted of as many as 15 teams while the rest of the teams were in the Plate Group.
The competition has further seen many subtle changes to its format since the 2002-03 season. At present, the tournament follows a round-robin format and the teams that qualify go on to compete in the knockout rounds. Teams from all 28 Indian states compete in the tournament along with four of the eight union territories that have at least one representative.
As of the 2021-22 season, a total of 38 teams are divided into eight Elite Groups and one Plate Group. Each Elite Group will have four teams while the Plate Group consists of six teams.
Historically, Mumbai have dominated the Ranji Trophy, winning the competition a record 41 times. None of the other teams have managed to win the title on more than 10 occasions. Furthermore, Mumbai also hold the record for most appearances (46) in the Ranji Trophy final.
The record champions were on a dominant run from the 1953-54 season to the 1972-73 campaign, lifting the title on 18 out of 20 occasions. During this time, only Madras and Baroda could halt Mumbai’s winning run.
After Mumbai, Karnataka have won the most Ranji Trophies (8) followed by Delhi (7) and Baroda (5).
Madhya Pradesh are the reigning champions of the Ranji Trophy, having defeated Mumbai by six wickets in the 2021-22 final to claim their maiden title.
Ranji Trophy winners list
|2020-21||Not held due to Covid-19|
Featured photo: AFP / Dibyangshu Sarkar