The Ranji Trophy is a Cricgator tournament, held in India. It is the most prestigious domestic cricket tournament in India and considered to be among the most prestigious tournaments across the world.
The Ranji Trophy was introduced on 5 December 1934 as the premier first-class cricket tournament in India. The trophy’s design was modeled after the Victoria Memorial (also known as the ‘Ranjitsinh Temple’) in Kolkata, carved out of a single piece of ivory.
This unique shape is a distinctive feature of the trophy that has found mention even in travel guides and books on art and architecture. The Ranji Trophy has been won by teams from all over India except for Haryana and Delhi which are not considered cricketing states.
The Ranji Trophy is founded upon three principles- firstly, it should be an annual event, secondly it should be open to amateur cricketers only, and finally it must be as fair as possible to all teams participating therein.
The History of the Ranji Trophy
The first successful tour of India was made by an English side when they took on the Nawab of Pataudi’s XI in 1932-33. Pataudi wanted a team to tour India and he put together an XI of his personal cricketers.
The Nawab wanted to test his team against all teams in the country and selected from his inner circle of cricketers. The selectors consisted of several senior players like his brother Shujaat, Jai Narayan Vyas, Roshan Mahanama, and Charu Sharma.
The team was called Pakistan, and consisted of the then best batsmen in India and the country’s best bowling attack, with Wazir Ali as their first-choice wicket-keeper.
The Meaning of the Ranji Trophy
“Ranji”, is a common surname of Bengal origin and “Ranga”, is a colloquial Bengali word meaning, player or player in cricket. As most people were cricketers, the families of Bengal cricketers were known as Ranji Ka Mutt.
The Kolkata Sports Club became the first member to submit a nomination for the award. The player winning the Ranji Trophy was called “Kranti Ranji” in his honour. Kranti refers to an unsung hero of the game of cricket, a player who had very little name or recognition outside the sport.
An annual cash award of 50 lakhs rupees was presented to Kranti Ranjitsinh to recognise his achievements. Ranji Trophy also awarded a medal to the team members who won the coveted trophy.
Why is cricket so important to India?
In 1773, Charles Lee came to India and became the first ‘Cricket’ in India. This was the first cricket game to be played in India.
The Ranji Trophy was introduced on 5 December 1934 as the premier first-class cricket tournament in India.
India is the birthplace of the game. It has been the inspiration for many sportsmen and women. It has been adopted as the official sport of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The Ranji Trophy was founded on three principles- firstly, it should be an annual event, secondly it should be open to amateur cricketers only, and finally it must be as fair as possible to all teams participating therein.
How did the Ranji Trophy come about?
Lalit Modi is known to be the man who introduced the idea of the Ranji Trophy tournament. Lalit Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat and had a keen interest in the development of cricket. Modi wanted to promote the game and the team were struggling for funds.
He decided to raise money by organizing fundraising events in Mumbai. One such event which was attended by Vijay Merchant. Modi asked Merchant to donate money for the team. Merchant suggested that the team play against other teams like Bombay, Bengal, Central India, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa and South India.
But these teams never played for the Ranji Trophy came into being in 1934 and were part of Western India first division and later Karnataka & Cochin state were also added.
How is the current format of the Ranji Trophy?
The current format of the Ranji Trophy is a knockout competition with each team playing the other in a single-elimination tournament, beginning with the first round and culminating with the final. The final is usually played at the home ground of the higher-ranked team.
The top six teams in the league stage qualify for the knockouts. The 16 teams are divided into two groups of eight. The top four teams from each group advance to the knockouts, where a new tournament begins each week until there are four teams remaining.
This has to be Sachin Tendulkar’s team Mumbai. Sachin led Mumbai to the Ranji Trophy title on six occasions- 1996, 1998, 1998-99, 2002, 2003-04, 2004-05.
What are some other similar tournaments?
The Indian domestic cricket tournament, the Ranji Trophy, is not the only tournament in India that’s known for being the ‘Premier Domestic Trophy’. There are other similar cricket competitions in India such as the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20
Cric Gator tournament for players who play for their state teams, the Indian Premier League (IPL) for players who play in various domestic and international T20 domestic leagues and the Vijay Hazare Trophy (national one-day domestic) for those who play for state teams in Indian domestic competitions.
1) The Indian Premier League (IPL) for domestic players.
2) The Ranji Trophy for players from state teams in India.
3) The Vijay Hazare Trophy for state teams in India.
What are things which could change in the future of the tournament?
There have been some controversies regarding the distribution of funds by the BCCI, which have created a rift within the teams and several instances of bribery have been brought into the spotlight. Some of the discussions regarding this topic are discussed below:
A new format would have to be introduced as the current format is outdated and teams can face obstacles with regard to the financial stability of their team, as well as several other problems that could occur.
As per some members of the board, the money should be distributed among all the teams, instead of the teams earning a certain share for playing in the tournament. Every state team should have a proper grass root development program.
The structure of the tournament and the circumstances in which it is hosted have, over the years, changed. This has resulted in several changes in the names of the tournaments. After a change of name, in 2005, the tournament was hosted by state units of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, and only five rounds of matches were conducted.
From 2012, the tournament has been hosted by Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana, while Karnataka and Tamil Nadu resumed hosting the tournament in 2013 and 2016 respectively.
The tournament has been played with a round robin format for over three decades and also experimented with the idea of a knockout competition with two semifinals and a final since 2006.