What is the format of the Ranji Trophy in cricket?

The Ranji Trophy is the premier first-class cricket championship of India. It was first held in 1934 and was initially called “The Cricket Championship of India.” The tournament was renamed to Ranji Trophy to honor Colonel Ranjitsinhji, who was the first ever Indian to play international cricket. He represented England from 1896-1902.

The Ranji Trophy is contested between 38 teams. Each of these teams is recognised by the BCCI and represents a particular region, union territory, state or services of India. For example, Baroda, Saurashtra and Vidarbha are teams that represent particular regions within a state. Pondicherry is an example of a team representing a union territory and Railways and Services represent pan-Indian teams.

In its nine decade long history, the Ranji Trophy has seen several changes in its format. However, we shall be discussing only the current format in this article. The current system of Ranji Trophy follows a promotion and relegation format. Based on a round-robin group stage and the results of subsequent knock-out matches, teams are categorised for the following edition of the event.

There are two main groups in the Ranji Trophy – Elite Group and Plate Group. The Elite Group is divided into four groups, with each group containing eight teams. The Plate Group consists of six teams. The teams in respective Elite Groups play in a round robin format. The top two teams from each Elite group qualify for the quarterfinals. In the Plate Group, each team plays each other in a round-robin format. The top two teams of the Plate Group are promoted to the Elite Group the following year. The bottom two teams of each Elite Group are relegated to the Plate Group for the next edition.

A team gets 6 points for a win. A bonus point is awarded to the team who wins by an innings or 10 wickets. 1 point is awarded for a drawn match. 3 bonus points are awarded to the side who has a 1st innings lead in a drawn match, whereas a deficit in the 1st innings match is worth 1 point. There are no points deducted for losses.

Mumbai leads the count for the most Ranji titles with 41. Wasim Jaffer is the most successful batter in Ranji cricket. He has played a record 155 matches, scoring a record 12,038 runs which includes an unparalleled 40 centuries. Rajinder Goel is the most successful bowler with 640 wickets.

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