The Ranji Trophy 2021-22 season is set to start from February 16 as per the revised schedule prepared by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The tournament is set to be staged in two phases - league stages and knockouts on either side of the Indian T20 League. As per reports, the Elite group stage will be played until March 5 with the knockouts slated to be held in June. 

As per BCCI sources, the 38 participating teams are likely to be spread across nine venues - Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Guwahati, Trivandrum, Cuttack, Baroda, Ahmedabad and Rajkot

Eight venues will host the matches of the Elite Groups, comprising four teams each while the ninth venue will stage the matches of the six teams in the Plate Group.

Ranji Trophy, India’s premium domestic red-ball competition was cancelled last season for the first time in its history due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Later, the tournament was originally scheduled to commence on January 13 of this year but had to be postponed indefinitely due to the surge of the virus in India. 

"Ever since the decision on postponement was made, the board was working on several models to ensure that the tournament takes place as soon as the environment is safe and conducive," Jay Shah had written in a letter to the state associations earlier. 

"We will continue to have biosecure bubbles to mitigate any potential risk. The board is committed to providing a healthy and secure environment and seeks your support in ensuring a safe tournament for all our key stakeholders," he added. 

The announcement comes as a major relief for the domestic cricketers who have been deprived of red-ball cricket over the last two years. 

"Every domestic cricketer in the country is not thinking about the league phase or knockouts, no one is thinking about bubble or COVID, they just want to play. Playing is everything right now and rest will follow," Saurashtra batter Sheldon Jackson told PTI following BCCI’s announcement.

The schedule for the Ranji Trophy 2021-22 season is expected to be announced by the BCCI soon. 

Featured photo: Money Sharma / AFP