Challenger Trophy Cricket series, a day-night limited-over tournament, is played before the launch of Ranji season, in October. The tournament is organised with the purpose of providing opportunities to talented younger players in the country. Being considered as one of the premium competitions in the Indian domestic cricket arena, the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy has earned a lot of importance and attraction from the cricket enthusiasts. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) started the tournament in the years of 1994-95, with an objective to find cricketers who can represent the country in the coming years. However, the tournament was started in the name of Challenger Series in the beginning and the BCCI named it after the famous cricketer NKP Salve, in the years of 1998-99. Salve was a former official in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and he was hugely instrumental for India hosting the World Cup in 1987.
Structure of RCL T20 Matches in Challenger Trophy
There are only 3 teams in the tournament namely the India Senior, India A and India B and the teams compete with each other, first in a league basis and then go into playing the semi-finals and the final. The teams comprise the best 36 players of the country and it is believed to be the most authentic tournament to produce the best 11 players for the national team. The India Senior team won the first edition of the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy in 1994, and it also won the 4-day tournament, for the next 3 years. The India A and India B teams were declared as joint winners in 1998, after India seniors were ousted from the tournament and the final could not be played due to bad weather.
Format of Ranji Trophy
According to the format of the Ranji Trophy in the initial period, the teams first participated in knockout rounds and then reached a timeless final. The rules stated that in case of draws, the team leading in the first innings was announced as the winner. However, the rules were changed and zonal groups introduced, in 1957-58 after a spate of matches where sides with no chance of winning conceded. According to the changed format, the teams were divided into the 5 zones like North, West, East, Central and South. Teams in zone played each other in the league stage.
The top 2 teams (till 1991-92) and top 3 following them from the zones played each other in the knockout round through which the eventual winner was decided. However, the format was changed in the 2002-03 season, when the elite and the plate divisions came into play. The BCCI changed the names of the elite and plate divisions to ‘Super League’ and ‘Plate League’ in the 2006-07 season. Though most of the teams in the tournament represent the different states of India, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Gujarat and Vadodara, have separate teams. However, besides the states, the teams like Railways and Services also participate in the Ranji Trophy.
The very first of the Rajwada Cricket tournaments in India was the Ranji Trophy that was organised in the year 1934-35. The tournament was named after the legendary Indian Cricket player, Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji, Jam Sahib of Nawanagar, and was initiated with a view to bring out top class talented cricketers from different parts of India. The Ranji Trophy is considered to be the premier cricket tournament in India. Most of the participating teams in this tournament mainly represent various Indian states. Apart from the state teams, there are also some other teams that are run and managed by different corporate houses or governmental organisations. Such teams include the Railways and Services etc. The teams are divided into two groups named the Elite Group and Plate Group and there are two different winners for each of the groups. The teams in the Elite Group are considered to be the best ones in the Ranji Trophy.