After suffering a jolt in the last season due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic situation affecting the world, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on July 3 announced the schedule for domestic cricket in India comprising a total of 2127 matches across various age groups in the men’s and women’s category, for the upcoming 2021-22 season. Importantly, the much awaited and iconic Ranji Trophy will make a return this year after being cancelled last year.
According to a media release issued by BCCI, the domestic season will commence on September 21, 2021, with the Senior Women's One Day League and will be followed by the Senior Women's One Day Challenger Trophy, which will take place from October 27, 2021.
Return of the much awaited Ranji Trophy
Ranji Trophy, consisting of 38 teams, which was cancelled last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be played in a three-month window from November 16, 2021 to February 19, 2022, BCCI stated.
The teams will be divided into four groups as previously – Elite A, Elite B, Elite C and Plate. As in the previous seasons, Elite A and Elite B groups will have 9 teams each while Elite C and Plate groups will have 10 teams each.
There will be a total of 177 matches that would be played over the three-month period.
Limited overs tournaments
The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for domestic men’s T20 cricket between 38 teams spread across five groups will start on October 20, 2021 with the final to be played on November 12, 2021.
The Vijay Hazare Trophy for List A men’s cricket will take place between 38 teams spread across three Elite and one Plate group between February 23, 2022 and March 26, 2022.
BCCI Domestic Schedule 2021-22 for Men’s cricket:
Need for multi-day tournament for women’s cricket
The Senior women’s one-day league will be played between 37 teams spread across four groups and will have 160 matches. The Senior women’s T20 league will have 142 matches between 37 teams spread across five groups.
It must be stated that BCCI also needs to consider introducing a multi-day women’s cricket tournament going ahead. The Indian women performed brilliantly in the recent one-off Test against England and managed to salvage a draw coming from behind due to the heroic efforts of Taniya Bhatia and Sneha Rana.
It goes without saying that the scheduling of domestic multi-day games for women cricketers will strengthen India’s prospects in the coming years.
Apart from this, BCCI has done its part in ensuring that age group cricket will continue in the same manner as previous years. This is important as age-group cricket ensures the creation of a talent pool for senior level cricket.
Safety of players, stakeholders to be of paramount importance keeping COVID-19 in mind
BCCI further stated that the health and safety of players and all people involved in the domestic season will be given priority considering the prevailing pandemic situation.
“The BCCI is confident of hosting the domestic season with health and safety of players and all people involved being paramount,” it stated.
It must be remembered here that there is a possibility of a third wave of COVID-19 later this year in the country as per scientists.
However, BCCI’s decision to plan out a schedule in advance is a step in the right direction given that the safety and health measures taken in view of the COVID-19 situation are also progressing forward.