New Delhi: The 2012-13 domestic season will start from September 21 with the Irani Cup in Jaipur, pitting Ranji Trophy winners Rajasthan against Rest of India. The four-day fixture at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium will be followed by the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy and the Duleep Trophy in October.
As per the revamped structure, the Duleep Trophy will take place before Ranji Trophy which commences from November 2 across the country. The Challenger Trophy will feature current Vijay Hazare Trophy champions Bengal with the two remaining teams to be picked by the national selectors.
The BCCI’s technical committee has made a few changes to the Ranji Trophy format. As per the new format, 27 teams will be divided into the three groups.
Group A will comprise Rajasthan, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Madhya Pradesh, Saurashtra, Railways, Bengal, Punjab and Gujarat. Group B will feature Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka , Uttar Pradesh, Baroda, Delhi, Vidarbha and Odisha. Making up Group C will be Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Services, Tripura, Goa, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir and Assaml
Three teams from Group A, three from Group B, and two from Group C, will qualify for the knockout stage, which will be played in January 2013.
After the Ranji Trophy, the fourth edition of the Raj Singh Dungarpur Corporate Trophy will commence. This will be followed by the second Irani Cup game of the season, in which the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy winners will play against Rest of India. Subsequent editions of the Irani Cup will be played after the Ranji final of the same season.
The season will come to an end with the limited-overs tournaments –the Vijay Hazare Trophy, Deodhar Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.