Jay Shah, the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), on Friday said that the Ranji Trophy will be held this season in two phases. Shah added that the first phase will have all league matches while the second phase will see the knockouts being held in June.
"The Board has decided to conduct the Ranji Trophy this season in two phases. In the first phase, we plan to complete all matches of the league stage while the knockouts will be held in June. My team is working closely to mitigate any kind of health risk caused by the pandemic, while at the same time ensuring a highly competitive red-ball cricket contest," Shah was quoted as saying by The Hindu.
"Ranji Trophy is our most prestigious domestic competition, which has been providing Indian Cricket with an enviable talent pool every year. It is absolutely important that we take all necessary steps to safeguard the interest of this premier event," added Shah.
Earlier, the BCCI had been forced to postpone the 2021/22 season of the Ranji Trophy along with Col CK Nayudu Trophy and Senior Women's T20 League indefinitely due to the third wave of COVID-19 in the country, mainly caused by the Omicron variant of the virus.
The Ranji Trophy comprises 38 teams from all over the country and was scheduled to start on January 13 this year until the BCCI postponed it indefinitely on January 4.
The 2020/21 season of the premier first-class competition was cancelled for the first time in the 85-year history of the prestigious tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier on Friday, former India head coach Ravi Shastri had tweeted in support of organising the Ranji Trophy, which serves as the pathway for selection to the senior men's Test side and India A team as well.
"The Ranji Trophy is the backbone of Indian cricket. The moment you start ignoring it, our cricket will be SPINELESS," tweeted Shastri, who represented Mumbai in Ranji Trophy.