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Ranji Trophy 2021-22: First Phase Begins On February 10; Knockouts From May 30

The upcoming season of Ranji Trophy will have 64 games with the first phase having 57 matches and the second stage having seven knock-out games.

Ranji Trophy 2021-22 is taking place in two phases to accomodate IPL 2022.
Ranji Trophy 2021-22 is taking place in two phases to accomodate IPL 2022. File photo

The first phase of the much-anticipated Ranji Trophy will take place from February 10 to March 15 before the premier domestic event takes a break during the IPL and resumes from May 30 to June 26 for the knockouts, BCCI secretary Jay Shah informed state units on Thursday. (More Cricket News)

Shah's letter made it clear that it is set to be one of the shortest first-class seasons with most teams getting to play only three matches which effectively means that increased match fees will not have an impact on most of the teams that will be ousted at the group league stage.

As PTI reported earlier, four teams each have been divided into eight elite groups while the remaining six form the plate division. The new pay slabs offer those who have played 40-plus games Rs 60,000 per day, a significant hike from the previous Rs 35,000 per day scale. Those with experience of 21 to 40 matches will get Rs 50,000 per day.

The tournament will have 64 games in 62 days with the first phase comprising 57 matches and the second stage having seven knock-out games, including four quarter-finals, two semi-finals and the final.

The elite group matches will be played in Rajkot, Cuttack, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Trivandrum, Delhi, Haryana and Guwahati. Plate league matches will be held in Kolkata, requiring nine bio-secure bubbles for nine venues.

Each team from elite group, barring one, will qualify for the quarterfinals.

The lowest ranked qualified team from elite group will play the plate toppers in the sole pre-quarterfinal.

The tournament was cancelled for the first time ever last season and this year, the third wave of COVID-19 forced the BCCI to postpone the scheduled start of January 13.

The last red ball game in the country took place in March 2020.

In his letter to state units, Shah wrote: "I am pleased to share that we are now truly set to resume both international and domestic cricket with full thrust. We have waited patiently for the grip of the pandemic to loosen and the time has come for our cricketers to take centre stage all over again.

"The structure of revised Ranji Trophy format is now ready. We have spread out the Ranji Trophy to nine different venues across the country to mitigate any cross transmission risk while also ensuring that bio-bubbles are not overburdened."

The bubbles have been breached in the past including during the IPL but Shah said the board has contingency plans in place.

"While the persistent virus has still breached the bubble, we have factored in contingency plans  drawing from out past experience while formulating this structure," Shah wrote.

Two stadiums will be used in each of the venues in elite groups while three stadiums will be used in Kolkata for the plate group.

Delhi has been clubbed in Elite H group also comprising Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh with the games to be held in Guwahati.

Defending champions Saurashtra will make the road journey to Ahmedabad for their group fixtures. They are in Elite D alongside Mumbai, Odisha, Goa.

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