The upcoming edition of the coveted Ranji Trophy will start on November 16, 2021, and run until February 19, 2022, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Saturday, July 3.

The Indian domestic first-class cricket championship returns to the domestic calendar after the 2020-21 season was scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country.

As many as 177 matches will be played in the Ranji Trophy 2021-22 season scheduled in a three-month window.

Currently, the Ranji Trophy consists of 38 teams from 28 states in India and four of the eight union territories having a minimum of one representation. As has been the norm in the previous two editions, there will be three Elite Groups - A, B and C and a Plate Group. While Group A and B have nine teams each, Group C and the Plate Group include 10 teams each in the competition. 

Meanwhile, the Indian cricket board has announced that a total of 2,127 domestic games will be played in the 2021-22 season starting with the Senior Women's One Day League, followed by the Senior Women's One Day Challenger Trophy. It also comprises the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy and other domestic tournaments across various age groups in the men’s and women’s categories.

However, due to the jam-packed calendar, BCCI has been forced to cancel the Irani Cup, Duleep Trophy and the Deodhar Trophy for the upcoming season.

"The BCCI is confident of hosting the domestic season with health and safety of players and all people involved being paramount," the BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a press release.

Saurashtra will head into the new Ranji Trophy season as the defending champions having defeated Bengal by a first-innings lead to secure their maiden title in the 2019-20 campaign.

Featured photo: Twitter/BCCIDomestic