Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have announced the different groups for the upcoming premier domestic tournament, Ranji Trophy 2018-19.
Meanwhile, the upcoming edition of Ranji Trophy will commence from November 1 and will run until February 6. Furthermore, the total number of participating sides has also increased to 37.
The 2017/18 Ranji Trophy season saw 28 teams fighting for the prestigious title. They were divided into four groups as well. The top two sides in each group qualified for the quarter-finals. Eventually, Vidarbha lifted the trophy beating Delhi by nine wickets in the final at the Holkar Stadium in Indore.
However, unlike in the recent past, the return of the Ranji Trophy format to Elite and Plate categories has attracted stringent criticism from various quarters. With nine teams added, the stringent schedule will test the mental and physical aspect of the players.
All nine new teams have slotted in the Plate Group. Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Pudhucherry, Sikkim, and Uttarakhand will make their Ranji Trophy debut in the 2018/19 season. On the other hand, Bihar will return to action in the top plight after 15 years.
Defending champions Vidarbha lead a strong Group A which also contains heavyweights Karnataka and Mumbai. Delhi, Punjab and Tamil Nadu leads the charge in the Group B. The relatively lower-ranked teams in the circuit form the Group C.
This time around, five combined teams from Group A and Group B will qualify for the quarter-finals. Two teams from Group C and one team from the Plate Group will join those five sides in the knockout stages.
The winner of the Plate Group will be promoted to Group C in the next season while the bottom-placed team of the latter will be demoted. The top two sides in Group C will swap places with the bottom-placed team of Group A and B in the subsequent edition.
Here are the different groups for Ranji Trophy 2018-19:
Elite Group A
Baroda, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Railways, Saurashtra and Vidarbha
Elite Group B
Delhi, Bengal, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Hyderabad, Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu
Elite Group C
Assam, Goa, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Odisha, Services, Rajasthan, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh
Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Pudhucherry, Sikkim, and Uttarakhand.