Ranji Trophy 2016-17 is the 83rd edition of the famous Ranji Trophy Tournament. It is a domestic first class cricket championship played in India between Regional Cricket Associations. Currently, the championship consists of 28 teams with Chattisgarh Team making its debut in the 2016-17 season. The teams represent 21 out of the 29. Some states like Maharashtra and Gujarat have more than one representation. Till 2015-16, there have been 82 Ranji Trophy Tournaments and out of the 82 Finals, Bombay (now Mumbai) has played 45 Finals and won 41 Ranji Trophy Championships. The teamholds the record of maximum championship wins by any team. The current champion of Ranji Trophy is Mumbai and they became the champion after beating Saurashtra by an inning and 21 runs in the 2015-16 Season Finale.
History of Ranji Trophy: The history of the tournament roots back to 1934 and the tournament started off with the name "The Cricket Championship of India" after the BCCI meeting in Bombay (now Mumbai) and the trophy of the tournament was donated by the Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh. The tournament was named as Ranji Trophy after the Prince of Nawanagar in Gujarat, Ranjisinhji Vibhaji Jadeja, a famous cricketer of that time who used to play for England. He died in 1933 and a year later in 1934, the tournament was named after him. Bombay was the first team to win the Ranji Trophy and the team defeated North India to win the title. The first century in the Ranji Trophy was from Syed Mohammed Hadi who belonged to the Hyderabad Team. From the origin of the tournament, the teams were divided on the basis of geography and earlier there were 4 Zones of North, East, South and West. Central Zone was added in 1952-53 Season. Till the 2001-02 Season, the teams were divided on the basis of these 5 Zones. Till 1956, the matches were played in a knock out format and after 1957, the tournament changed into a league and the winners in the different zones took part in a knockout format for winning the trophy. During the 1970-71, the Season started to feature the top two teams from each zone for the knock out stage and from 1992-93, the top three teams from each zone took part in the knock out stage. From 1996 to 2000, there were 15 teams that took part in a second level group stage and they were divided into three groups consisting of five teams each. The top 2 teams from each group would then feature in the knock-out stage. However, after 2002, the format of the game was changed. The zonal system was abandoned and a two division structure was adopted. One division was the Elite Group that consisted 15 Teams and the second division was the Plate Group that consisted of the rest. Every Group had two sub-groups which played a round robin and later the two top from each Elite sub-group contested a four-team knock-out tournament to determine the winner of the tournament. In 2012-13, the names of the division was renamed to Group A and Group B. The round-robin matches were played for four days and knockout matches were played for five days. If there is no result for the match, the team leading after the first innings is declared as the winner.The Ranji Trophy proved to be very successful for the Indian Cricket. In fact, majority of the Ranji players are included in the Indian National Team on the basis of their performance in the tournament.The tournament was a success since its inception and was conducted even during the second world war in 1939-45. Previously, the tournament consisted of teams like Army, Holkar, Central India, Northern India, East Punjab and Northern Punjab. Teams like North Western Frontier Province, Southern Punjab and Sind were not considered eligible after the partition of India.
Ranji Trophy has set out some amazing history in the world of domestic cricket in India. The Mumbai Team has recorded the maximum wins in the history of the trophy whereas the 1993-94 Match between Hyderabad against Andhra has the record of the highest team score of 944 for 6, scored by Hyderabad. Apart from that, it has also given some amazing legends to the game of cricket. Wasim Jaffer holds the record of scoring maximum runs (10143) and maximum centuries (35) in the history of Ranji Trophy. B.B. Nimbalkar has the highest individual score of 443 runs and Bombay team's player Vijay Merchant holds the record of highest cricket average (98.75). VVS Laxman holds the record of maximum runs scored by an individual in a season (1415) and Rajender Goel holds the record of most career wickets (637 wickets). Bhishan Singh Bedi has the record of acquiring most wickets in a season in the 1974-75 where he took 64 wickets.
Ranji Trophy 2016-17 Schedule: The Ranji Trophy 2016-17 season is scheduled to start from October 6, 2017 and the finals would counclude by January 11, 2017. The teams have been divided into three groups for the on-going season. Group A and Group B consists of 9 teams each while Group C consists of 10 teams. Group A consists of teams of Baroda, Bengal, Guharat, Madhya Pradesh, Mumbai, Punjab, Railways, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. Assam, Delhi, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Saurashtra and Vidharbha draw up the Group B for Ranji Trophy 2016 - 17. The remaining 10 teams of Group C are Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Hyderabad, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerela, Services and Tripura. The matches for the current season of Ranji would be conducted on neutral grounds. The quarter finals would would be held from 17 - 21 December 2016, Semi Finals from 27 - 31 December 2016 and the Finals are scheduled on 7 - 11 January 2017.