Everything about Ranji Trophy: The History, the Format and the Records

One of the best ways to assess any country's success in a sport is to look at how good and smooth the youth development for the sport is in the country. This is true for any sport around the world, be it football in Europe or basketball in the USA. Both have a supreme youth development system that churns out the best talent year on year. For cricket, in India, the BCCI has done an incredible job with domestic first-class cricket, which has made India one of the best cricket-playing nations. On top of this domestic circuit in India, the Ranji Trophy in cricket sits at the pinnacle as the tournament of the highest quality and importance. But what is the Ranji Trophy, what is its history and format, and how do we get selected for it?

Dhawal Kulkarni and the Mumbai Cricket Team celebrate winning the Ranji Trophy in 2024

Credit: Hindustan Times

In this chapter by ZAP, let’s learn about the answers to all these questions and learn more about the Ranji Trophy. 

History of the Ranji Trophy:

The Ranji Trophy, after which the tournament is named

Credit: Tribune India

The Ranji Trophy is the oldest and the most prestigious domestic cricket trophy in India. It was started in 1934 by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as India’s first national-level cricket tournament. Initially, the competition was named ‘The Cricket Championship of India’. It got its current name, the Ranji Trophy to honour Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji, the first ever Indian to play international cricket and a respected figure in Indian cricket back in the day. The trophy was donated by Bhupinder Singh, the Maharaja of Patiala, to the BCCI, in his memory.

Shri Ranjitsinhji - the first Indian to play international cricket playing cricket

Credit: Wikimedia Images

The first ever Ranji Trophy match took place on November 4, 1934, between Madras and Mysore at the Chepauk Cricket Ground in Chennai. Since then, the tournament has been held every year, with teams from all over India competing to win the prestigious trophy. It's played at different grounds and stadiums in India, and the best talents in Indian domestic cricket are put against each other in a match to potentially nominate themselves for the Indian Cricket Team.

Ranji Trophy Format and Rules:

The Ranji Trophy tournament is almost 90 years old, and for a tournament this old, it is apparent that there have been multiple changes in format and rules throughout history. 

Originally, the Ranji Trophy format was such that teams were split into geographic zones (the North Zone, the South Zone, the West Zone, and the East Zone, with Central being added later), and played knockout matches within their zones. Later, the championship was switched to a league format to determine zone winners, who then competed in a knockout tournament.

In 2002–03, the BCCI changed the tournament to two divisions: Elite Group and Plate Group. The top teams from each Elite sub-group played knockout matches for the trophy, while the last-placed Elite teams were relegated, and Plate Group finalists got promoted. This system of promotion and relegation of teams based on performance is very common in club football around the world. In this format, only the teams in the elite group could eventually compete for the trophy. So, the format was once again changed, where teams from both, the Elite and Plate Groups got to challenge for the Ranji Trophy.

In the 2017–18 season, the two-tier system was replaced with four groups of seven teams each, with two quarter-finalists from each group. From the 2018–19 season onwards, the tournament adopted a three-tier structure, with five teams qualifying for the quarter-finals from the top tier, two from the second tier, and one from the lower tier.

Matches in the league stages last for 4 days, while knockout matches go on for 5 days. And if there's no clear winner in a knockout match, the team leading after the first innings at that point is declared the winner. 

The points system determines the position of each team in each division and is based on criteria such as wins, draws, and even ties. Teams earn 6 points for winning outright after two innings have been played. An additional point is awarded for winning by an innings or by ten wickets. If a match ends in a draw, the team with the first innings lead gets 3 points, while both teams receive one point each if there's no result or if the scores are tied in the first inning. Teams earn one point for losing in the first innings and no points for losing outright. In the rare event of a tie on both innings, teams receive three points each.

Also Read: Cricket Grounds in India

Ranji Trophy Teams and Winners List:

The Ranji Trophy is the biggest domestic cricket tournament in India, where teams from all different regions and states compete. There are 28 teams from all the states in India. Some teams represent smaller regions within states, like Mumbai and Vidarbha from Maharashtra, and Saurashtra and Baroda from Gujarat. There are also pan-Indian teams, like Railways and Services, which represent Indian Railways and the Indian Armed Forces, respectively. Additionally, some union territories like Delhi, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Puducherry also have their own teams. In total, it's a big tournament, with 38 teams from all over India playing against each other.

Ranji Trophy Team List:

Team

Home ground

Total titles

Mumbai / Bombay

Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

42

Karnataka / Mysore

M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore

8

Delhi

Arun Jaitley Stadium

7

Baroda

Moti Bagh Stadium, Vadodara

5

Madhya Pradesh / Holkar

Holkar Stadium, Indore

5

Bengal

Eden Gardens, Kolkata

3

Hyderabad

Hyderabad Cricket Stadium

2

Maharashtra

Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune

2

Railways

Karnail Singh Stadium, New Delhi

2

Rajasthan / Rajputana

Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur

2

Saurashtra

Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot

2

Tamil Nadu / Madras

M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

2

Vidarbha

New VCA Stadium, Nagpur

2

Gujarat

Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad

1

Haryana

Chaudhary Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium, Rohtak

1

Punjab

Inderjit Singh Bindra Stadium, Mohali

1

Uttar Pradesh / United Provinces

BRSABV Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow

1

Andhra

ACA-VDCA International Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam

Arunachal Pradesh

Assam

ACA Stadium, Guwahati

Bihar

Rajgir International Stadium, Nalanda

Chhattisgarh

Nava Raipur International Stadium, Naya Raipur

Chandigarh

Sector 16 Stadium, Chandigarh

Goa

Dr. Rajendra Prasad Stadium, Margao

Himachal Pradesh

HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala

Jammu and Kashmir

Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium, Srinagar

Jharkhand

JSCA International Stadium Complex, Ranchi

Kerala

Trivandrum International Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram

Manipur

Meghalaya

Meghalaya Cricket Association Cricket Ground, Shillong

Mizoram

Nagaland

Nagaland Cricket Association Stadium, Sovima

Odisha / Orissa

Barabati Stadium, Cuttack

Pondicherry

CAP Siechem Ground, Puducherry

Sikkim

Mining Cricket Stadium, Rangpo

Services

Palam A Stadium, New Delhi

Tripura

Maharaja Bir Bikram College Stadium, Agartala

Uttarakhand

Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Dehradun


The Mumbai Cricket Team stands as the tournament's most dominant team in history. With 42 titles to their name, the Mumbai Cricket Team has won the Ranji Trophy the most number of times. They currently hold the title for the 2023–24 season after clinching a victory against the Vidharbha cricket team in the final match held at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Mumbai also has an extraordinary streak of 15 consecutive victories from 1958–59 to 1972–73.

Also Read: Mumbai Indians Cricket Team

How to play in the Ranji Trophy:

A Ranji Trophy Match between the Mumbai Cricket Team and the Bihar Cricket Team

Credit: The Week

Participating in the Ranji Trophy offers young cricketers the ideal platform to showcase their talents, whether it be batting prowess or bowling skills, and catch the attention of selectors through their performances. Often, players earn selection and lucrative contracts in the Indian Premier League (IPL) based on their impressive displays in this tournament. Moreover, it serves as a crucial stepping stone for any aspiring cricketer towards realising their dream of representing the national team. But how do you get selected to play in the Ranji Trophy in the first place? 

The Ranji Trophy is associated with the BCCI, which organises numerous tournaments catering to state players across various age categories, including U-14, U-16, U-19, U-25, and the open category. To get selected for the prestigious Ranji Trophy, every player needs to consistently perform in age-group competitions such as the U-16 Vijay Merchant Trophy, U-19 Cooch Behar Trophy, and U-25 Col. C.K. Nayudu Trophy. With standout performances in such junior domestic competitions, players can catch the eye of selectors and earn a promotion to senior competitions like the Vijay Hazare Trophy, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Duleep Trophy, and Irani Trophy and eventually the Ranji Trophy Cricket Tournament. 

What is the Per Match Salary of a Ranji Trophy player?

The salary structure of players in the Ranji Trophy is as follows:

  • Players with 41-60 matches get paid Rs.60,000 per day when in the playing XI and Rs.30,000 per day when they are reserves.
  • Players with 21-40 matches earn Rs.50,000 per day for playing XI appearances and Rs.25,000 per day when they're reserves.
  • Players with 0-20 matches get Rs.40,000 per day for playing XI selection and Rs.20,000 per day if they're reserves.
  • Non-playing squad members receive RS. 25,000 per day.

Ranji Trophy Records and Overall Stats:

Highest Run Scorer in the Ranji Trophy:

Wasim Jaffer: 12038 runs (1996/97 – 2019/20)

Highest Individual Score in Ranji Trophy:

BB Nimbalkar: 443* runs for Maharashtra against Saurashtra in 1948/49

Most Career Centuries:

Wasim Jaffer: 40 centuries (1996/97 – 2019/20)

Most Runs in a Season:

V. S. Laxman: 1415 runs for Hyderabad in 1999/00

Highest Wicket Taker in the Ranji Trophy:

Rajinder Goel: 639 wickets (1958/59 – 1984/85)

Best Bowling Figures in an Innings:

Premangsu Chatterjee: 10/20 for Bengal against Assam in 1956/57

Most Wickets in a Season:

Ashutosh Aman: 68 wickets for Bihar in 2018/19

Highest Team Score in the Ranji Trophy:

Hyderabad: 944/6 dec against Andhra in 1993/94

Lowest Innings Totals:

Hyderabad: 21 against Rajasthan in 2010/11

Highest Partnerships per Wicket:

1st: 464 runs by Ravi Sehgal & Raman Lamba for Delhi against Himachal Pradesh in 1994/95

Also Read: Most Runs in Cricket History | Most Wickets in Cricket History

FAQ:

Who is Ranji Trophy named after?

The Ranji Trophy is named after Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji, the first ever Indian player to play international cricket. H e played for the England Team in the 19th Century.

Which team has won most Ranji Trophy?

The Mumbai Cricket Team has won the Ranji Trophy the mmost times with 42 wins in the tournaments 90 years history.

Is Ranji Trophy 4 days or 5 days?

Matches in the league stages last for 4 days, while knockout matches go on for 5 days. And if there's no clear winner in a knockout match, the team leading after the first innings at that point is declared the winner.


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