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Ranji Trophy - Historical Note

Founded as "The Cricket Championship of India" at a meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India in July 1934. The first Ranji Trophy fixtures took place in the 1934-35 season. The Trophy was donated by H.H. Sir Bhupendra Singh Mahinder Bahadur, Maharajah of Patiala, in memory of His late Highness Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji of Nawanagar.

In the main, the Ranji Trophy is composed of teams representing the states that make up India. As the political states have multiplied, so have cricket teams, but not every state has a team. Some states have more than one cricket team, e.g. Maharashtra and Gujarat. There are also 'odd' teams like Railways, and Services representing the armed forces.

The various teams are grouped into zones - North, West, East, Central and South - and the initial matches are played on a league basis within the zones. Till the 1990-91 season, the top two teams from each zone qualified for the knock-out stage. From the 1991-92 season, this was upped to the top three teams from each zone moving on to the knock-out phase. Currently, the top three teams from each zone are constituted into three groups of five each, to play in a super league format. Two teams from each group move on to the knock-out stage. The defending champion, and the team with the highest points in the super league, get a bye to the semi-finals. If the matches are not finished, they are decided on the first-innings lead.


Teams (defunct teams)  Zone   Notes
Andhra  South  Formed 1953, originally northern part of Madras Presidency.
Army    See Services.
Assam  East  See Bengal.
Bengal  East  Formed as Cricket Association of Bengal and Assam in 1928. Assam seceded in 1938. East Bengal partitioned off as East Pakistan, 1947. Bangladesh independence declared , 1971. West Bengal played after partition as Bengal.
Bihar  East  Formed 1935. Played since 1936-37.
Central India    Formed 1932. Played in East Zone until 1939-40. In 1941 jurisdiction taken over by Holkar.
Central Provinces and Berar    Formed Nagpur 1934. Played intermittently until 1949-50 when taken over by Madhya Pradesh.
Delhi  North  Founded 1932 as Delhi & District Cricket Association. Joined 1934-35.
Goa  South  
Gujarat  West  Formed 1934 (See Mumbai). Joined 1934-35.
Gwalior    Now part of Madhya Pradesh.
Haryana  North  Formed from part of South Punjab, 1970-71.
Himachal Pradesh  North  
Holkar    See Central India. Played 1941-42 to 1951-52 in East Zone. Transferred to Central Zone 1952-53. Changed title 1955- 56 to Madhya Bharat. Now part of Vidarbha.
Hyderabad  South  Formed c. 1930. Joined 1934-35, South Zone. Like Mumbai, the team represents the city; but the city is the political capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh which has its own team. See Andhra.
Jammu & Kashmir  North  Joined 1959-60.
Karnataka  South  Formerly Mysore. Changed name 1973-74.
Kerala  South  Formerly Travancore-Cochin, until 1957-58. Joined 1951-52.
Madhya Bharat    Played as Holkar until 1954-55, and as Madhya Bharat in 1955-56 and 1956-57. Now part of Vidarbha.
Madhya Pradesh  Central  Originally part of Central India Cricket Association. Formed separate association and joined South Zone 1950. Since 1952-53 in Central Zone.
Maharashtra  West  Formed out of Bombay Presidency, 1934. Joined 1934-35.
Mumbai  West  Formerly Bombay. Bombay Presidency Cricket Association formed 1930. Joined Ranji Trophy 1934-35. Gujarat and Maharastra seceded that year. Is now Bombay Cricket Association, comprising only the city of Bombay.
Mysore    Formed 1930. Changed name to Karnataka, 1973-74.
Northern India    Joined 1934-35. Now in Pakistan.
Nawanagar    Played in West Zone from 1936-37 to 1947-48. Now part of Saurashtra.
North-West Frontier Province    Played in North Zone between 1937-38 and 1947-48. Now part of Pakistan.
Orissa  East  Originally southern part of Bihar. Formed Cricket Association and joined in 1949.
Patiala    Went through various transformations, once appearing under its name before changing to Southern Punjab in 1959-60. See Punjab.
Punjab  North  Historically the Punjab was divided by Partition, the East remaining in India. Punjab Cricket Association formed 1968-69 from Northern and Southern Punjab; part of the South seceded in 1970-71 to become Haryana following the formation of that political state.
Railways  Central  Based in Delhi. Joined the competition and North Zone in 1958-59 but transferred in 1975-76 to Central Zone.
Rajasthan  Central  Formerly Rajputana, formed 1931. Has played as Rajasthan since 1956-57 and since 1952-53 in Central Zone.
Saurashtra  West  Originally part of Western India States, and played previously as Kathiawar. Formed 1950 and joined 1951-52.
Services  North  Formed as Army Sports Control Board 1919. Appeared in first Ranji Trophy Season, and reappeared in 1949-50 as the Services Sports Control Board (India). Based in Delhi.
Sind    Played in West Zone 1934-35 until 1947-48. Now part of Pakistan.
Tamil Nadu  South  Formerly Madras. Joined 1970-71.
Travancore-Cochin    See Kerala.
Tripura  East  
United Provinces    Formed 1934. Moved to East Zone 1938-39. Changed name to Uttar Pradesh 1950-51. Joined Central Zone in 1952-53.
Uttar Pradesh  Central  Formerly United Provinces, changed to Uttar Pradesh in 1950-51. Since 1952-53 in Central Zone.
Vadodara  West  Formerly Baroda. Part of Gujarat until 1937. Joined 1937-38.
Vidarbha  Central  Originally Holkar, 1941-42 until 1951-52, then Madhya Bharat until 1956-57.
Western India States    Founded 1934, consisting of four Prant clubs: Halar, Sorath, Jhalawat, and Gohelwad. Played in West Zone until 1945-46 when its jurisdiction was taken over by Kathiawar. See Saurashtra.
(Thanks to "A History of Indian Cricket", by Mihir Bose)

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