“The Board has decided to conduct the Ranji Trophy this season in two phases. In the first phase, we plan to complete all matches of the league stage while the knockouts will be held in June,” Shah stated.
“My team is working closely to mitigate any kind of health risk caused by the pandemic, while at the same time ensuring a highly competitive red-ball cricket contest. The Ranji Trophy is our most prestigious domestic competition, which has been providing Indian cricket with an enviable talent pool every year. It is absolutely important that we take all necessary steps to safeguard the interest of this premier event,” he said in the statement.
TOI had reported on January 23 that the Board was mulling options to hold the league phase of the Ranji Trophy before the IPL, and play the knockouts later.
While the BCCI has not come out with the revised schedule of the tournament, a source told this paper that the forthcoming edition of the Ranji Trophy is likely to start from February 20. “There will be eight groups of four teams each. Each team will get three games to play in the league phase. This way, the league stage will be over in around 15 days, and the players will be available for this franchises from mid-March for camps and quarantine,” revealed the source.
On Friday, former India head coach Ravi Shastri had said on social media that the Ranji Trophy is the backbone of Indian cricket and the premier domestic red-ball tournament should not be ignored. “The Ranji Trophy is the backbone of Indian cricket. The moment you start ignoring it, our cricket will be SPINELESS,” tweeted Shastri.
The Ranji Trophy is the backbone of Indian cricket. The moment you start ignoring it our cricket will be SPINELESS!
— Ravi Shastri (@RaviShastriOfc) 1643349282000
On January 4, the BCCI had postponed the Ranji Trophy due to rising COVID-19 cases in the country. The Ranji Trophy and Col CK Nayudu Trophy were scheduled to begin in January this year. The Ranji Trophy was not held last season as well due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal on Thursday had told PTI that the board intended to hold the Ranji Trophy 2021-22 in two phases in a reworked plan.