New Delhi: The much-awaited Ranji Trophy schedule for the season 2016-17 was finalised by the BCCI on Friday with the national cricket championship slated to start on October 6.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the fixtures for the various tournaments on Friday as the domestic season is already underway with Duleep Trophy being played in Greater Noida. BCCI's technical committee, headed by Sourav Ganguly, had recommended organising the matches of its premier domestic championship at neutral venues in May this year to make it more competitive.
The intention behind the concept of neutral venues is to negate the home advantage, which will prevent hosts from making pitches that suit their respective strengths.
Group A and Group B will have nine teams while Group C has ten making it a 28-team event. Three teams from each of Group A and B and two sides from Group C will reach the quarterfinals which start from December 17 followed by the semifinals from December 27. The final will be played between January 7 and 11.
The limited-overs competitions – Vijay Hazare Trophy (50-overs) and the newly-proposed inter-zonal T20 tournament for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy – will be played after the end of Ranji season.
The season will end with Deodhar Trophy (50-overs) to be played in the Challenger Trophy format.
Ranji Trophy Groups:
Group A: Mumbai, Baroda, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Bengal, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Railways, Uttar Pradesh
Group B: Saurashtra, Odisha, Delhi, Maharashtra, Assam, Vidarbha, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Jharkhand
Group C: Hyderabad, Haryana, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Services, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra, Chhattisgarh