Ranji Trophy is the biggest domestic tournament that is happening in India every year. This tournament is the first-class domestic tournament that is played between the regional and state cricket associations. There are a total of 38 teams playing, including the teams representing the 28 state associations as well as 4 union territories. The tournament is named after the former Indian international Ranjit Singh Ji, who played for England and Sussex. The maiden tournament was conducted in the year 1934, and the initial fixtures took place in 1934-35. Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala donated the trophy.
Over the years, the Ranji Trophy has gained vast popularity and in modern times has achieved a similar status like country cricket, which is prevalent in England. Actually, the Ranji Trophy over the years become a breeding ground for some of the best Indian cricketers, who get selected into the Indian national team based on their performance in the Ranji matches. Currently, 27 teams take part in the Ranji Trophy, with 21 of the 29 Indian states having a minimum of one representative team. The format of the Ranji Trophy matches played has been changed several times over the years and it currently follows a two-tier format. One of the most distinctive features of the Ranji Trophy series is that apart from regional cricket boards of various states many government teams also take part in this Ranji Trophy tournament like the Railways team, and several other teams associated with government enterprises. The cricket associations and clubs with first-class status are also qualified to play in the Ranji Trophy.
In Ranji Trophy tournament Mumbai cricket association holds the record of most titles with a total of 41 in their trophy cabinet.
Currently following 38 teams participate in the Ranji Trophy:
· Arunachal Pradesh
· Himachal Pradesh
· Hyderabad (Telangana)
· Jammu and Kashmir
· Karnataka (Mysore)
· Madhya Pradesh (Central India/Gwalior/Holkar/Madhya Bharat)
· Mumbai (Bombay)
· Odisha (Orissa)
· Rajasthan (Rajputana)
· Saurashtra (Kathiawar/Nawanagar)
· Services (Army)
· Tamil Nadu (Madras)
· Uttar Pradesh (United Provinces)
The Ranji Trophy has successfully produced heroes time to time throughout the last 85 years who went on to become legends of Indian cricket.