Season to kick off with Senior Women’s One Day League on September 21
The Ranji Trophy will return to the Indian domestic calendar for the 2021-22 season after a Covid-19-induced cancellation in 2020-21. It will be part of a full domestic calendar in India for the coming season, with the BCCI announcing on Saturday that it would hold all tournaments, including for the various age groups and the women. The Ranji Trophy has been scheduled in a three-month window, from November 16, 2021 to February 19, 2022.
The season will kick off with the Senior Women’s One Day League on September 21, with the men’s season beginning with the national T20 tournament for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, from October 20 to November 12. The Ranji Trophy will start four days after that. The Mushtaq Ali tournament will run in parallel with the 2021 men’s T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in the UAE and Oman from October 17 to November 14. The BCCI is likely to add new teams for IPL 2022, and a mega auction is expected to take place possibly in December, after the Mushtaq Ali tournament is over.
The 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy will follow closely on the heels of the Ranji Trophy’s conclusion, beginning on February 23, with the final scheduled for March 26.
The packed calendar is due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare trophies were both held last season, the longer window needed for the Ranji Trophy, India’s premier first-class competition, in its traditional home-and-away format, was not sustainable. The 2020-21 season was the first time the Ranji Trophy had not been played since its inception in 1934-35, with the tournament having taken place even during World War II.
Saurashtra beat Bengal in the 2019-20 edition, which concluded just before the pandemic hit, for their first title.
Is the Women’s T20 Challenge on?
The women’s one-day Challenger Trophy will follow the Senior Women’s One-Day League, from October 27 to 31, and the timing of the tournaments puts a question mark over the 2021 edition of the Women’s T20 Challenge. The tournament has taken place in the final week of the IPL, alongside the playoffs, for the past few seasons. IPL 2021 was suspended indefinitely after 29 matches because of multiple bio-bubble breaches, and is expected to resume in the UAE from mid-September to mid-October. That clashes with the two women’s competitions that will kickstart the domestic season.
More to follow…