Cricket tournaments in India: Looking back at the resources Indian cricket had a decade ago versus now in the matter of players, infrastructure, finance, and the hold in World cricket, the difference is astonishing. Very recently India sent two different teams, one to play Sri Lanka for a T20I and ODI series and the other squad for a 5-match test series in England. If that’s not enough to realize how big Indian cricket is, the upcoming T20I World Cup 2021 and 2023 Cricket World Cup is supposed to happen in India (the T20I World Cup has now shifted their venues to UAE and Oman due to the pandemic).
On top of that, the Board of Control of Cricket in India is by far the richest cricket federation in the world. The Indian Premier League is simply the main reason for this evolution but it doesn’t play down the fact that other domestic tournaments have also contributed to a large extent, especially towards enriching the Indian roster. Let’s have a look at all the domestic cricket tournaments in India.
Complete list of the most popular cricket tournaments in India
|Domestic cricket tournaments in India||Format||First edition||Successful team(s)|
|Duleep Trophy||First-class||1961-62||North and West zones|
|Irani Cup||First-class||1959-60||Rest of India|
|Deodhar Trophy||List A||1973-74||North Zone|
|Vijay Hazare Trophy||List A||2002-03||Tamil Nadu|
|Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy||T20||2008-09||Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Baroda, Gujarat|
|Indian Premier League||T20||2008||Mumbai Indians|
Cricket tournaments in India: BCCI Ranji Trophy Cricket
Ranji Trophy cricket is India’s premier domestic tournament since 1934. It was proposed by the founder of the Board of Control of Cricket in India A.S De Mello. Earlier, it was called the Cricket Championship of India but later the tournament got named after Ranjitsinhji, the first international cricketer from India. The tournament has a round-robin format followed by knockout stages. The total 38 teams participating in the Ranji Trophy cricket is divided into two divisions – the plate league and the elite league. Promotions and relegations happen at the end of every season. Bombay is the most successful Ranji trophy team with a total of 41 titles while Saurashtra is the defending champion.
Cricket tournaments in India: Duleep Trophy
Named after the former cricketer Duleepsinhji, the first edition of the Duleep Trophy was held in 1961-1962 season after the Ranji trophy group stages became so easily predictable and Bombay won 15 titles in a row. The BCCI wanted to create a more competitive first-class tournament so they divided states into geographical zones such as East Zone, West Zone, South Zone, North Zone, and Central Zone. The format was knockouts initially, but after the 1993-1994 season, it has transformed to a league format. Today, the tournament is no longer on a zonal basis but played between only three teams – India Red, India Blue, and India Green. India Red is the current Duleep Trophy champion. As the zonal-based teams became defunct only in the 2016-2017 season, North and West zones still have the most Duleep Trophy titles, 18 each.
Cricket tournaments in India: Irani Cup
Irani Cup was started in the 1959-60 season as the Silver Jubilee celebration of the Ranji Trophy. This particular trophy is a single first-class fixture played between the defending Ranji Trophy Champion and the Rest of India. Z.R Irani was a legend in Indian cricket history and a vital part of the BCCI since its inception. So, the board paid tribute to the late legend by naming the cup by his name. Quite predictably, the Rest of India is the most successful team in Irani Cup history but the defending champions are Vidarbha with their 2nd Irani Cup win.
Cricket tournaments in India: Deodhar Trophy
Could be simply defined as the List A version of the Duleep Trophy. Deodhar Trophy is named after the Grand Old Man of Indian Cricket, D.B Deodhar. The tournament follows a round-robin knockout structure featuring India A, India B, and India C. Just like in Duleep Trophy, the teams were divided based on the geographical zones at first and then changed to these three teams from 2018-19 season. The North Zone is the best side in terms of titles won in Deodhar Trophy history.
BCCI Vijay Hazare Trophy
India’s biggest 50-over domestic tournament featuring all the 38 teams in the Ranji Trophy. Vijay Hazare was one of the finest cricketers India has ever produced and the BCCI honored him by naming the trophy after him in the 2002-03 season. After the round-robin group stages, the winner will be found through playoffs. Unlike the Ranji Trophy circuit, the Vijay Hazare Trophy tournament is highly competitive. Though Tamil Nadu has the highest number of titles (5 titles) teams like Mumbai, Karnataka, Gujarat, Saurashtra etc… are equally potential contenders for the title and it makes the event one of the most exciting among all domestic tournaments.
Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy
Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy kicked off soon after the first IPL season and it gathered a lot of hype and interest among the Indian audience who were just getting into the T20 era. In terms of the number of teams featuring in the tournament, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy is India’s biggest domestic T20 championship. All 38 teams playing in the Ranji Trophy and Vijay Hazare trophy participated in this tournament as well. One of the prime peculiarities of the T20 format is unpredictability. Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy ensures just that as in the 13 seasons so far, no team won the title more than twice. It is an amazing platform for such states in India which has very little cricket history.
Indian Premier League
Began as the Indian alternative of T20 Blast and Big Bash, the IPL had become the paramount event among T20 leagues. Currently, with eight franchises, IPL includes some of the best international stars and a stage for talented Indian youngsters to live their dream of cricket. All eight teams compete in a double round-robin league stage and the top 4 qualify for the playoffs. Before every season, an auction will be held for teams to improve their side and bolster their weak spots. Therefore, the quality of T20 cricket in IPL is arguably the greatest there ever has been. Mumbai Indians is the most successful IPL side and the defending champions securing their fifth title in IPL 2020.