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BCCI approves changes in Ranji format

Mumbai: BCCI`s technical committee, headed by former captain Sourav Ganguly, today approved a major revamp of the Ranji Trophy by doing away with the earlier Elite and Plate Divisions and making it a 27-team tournament. After a meeting that lasted over two hours here, an overhaul of the elite domestic event, which has been struggling for relevance, was approved by the committee.

According to the new format, the 27 teams will be divided into three groups and each team will play eight matches in the league stage. The quarterfinals and semifinals will also be five-day affairs now. In the previous format, Elite Division was divided into two groups of eight teams (A) and seven teams (B). The Plate Division was divided into two groups (A and B) consisting of six teams each.

"There will be nine teams in three groups A, B and C. Each team will play eight matches in the league stage and there will be promotion and relegation," an official who attended the meeting said on condition of anonymity. The new format brings parity in the number of matches that the teams will play against each other in the league stage. Earlier, in the Plate Division, a side could play five matches at the preliminary level.

The top three from group B at the end of the season would be promoted to group A, while the bottom three from the latter group would be relegated to group B. The last two from group B would go down further to group C, from where the top two would be promoted to group B. Besides, the committee decided to make the quarterfinals and the semifinals of the tournament five-day affairs instead of the four-day matches that were played till this season. The final will remain a five-day match as has been the norm.

Meanwhile, the Committee decided against making any changes to the format of Duleep Trophy, which has been scheduled for October instead of February. Suggestions varying from home-and-away ties, playing on uncovered wickets to widening the gap between two games and a league format for Duleep Trophy, were given at the annual Ranji Trophy captains` and coaches` conclave organised by the BCCI in March.

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