Bengal to play Ranji Trophy group stage in Cuttack; teams to assemble at respective venues around February 11

Bengal team during a training session at JU Second campus ground in Kolkata [Credits: CAB]
Bengal team during a training session at JU Second campus ground in Kolkata [Credits: CAB]
Srinjoy  Sanyal

Bengal have been placed alongside Baroda, Hyderabad and Chandigarh in the group stage of the refurbished 2021/22 season of the Ranji Trophy. They will play their matches in Cuttack, Odisha and will reach there on February 11, sources told Sportskeeda.

After a longstanding impasse and concerns over several individuals missing out on their annual income, the Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI) announced fresh dates for the resumption of India’s premier domestic tournament after a gap of almost two years. The league stage will run from February 16 to March 5, while the knockouts will be held after the IPL in June.

The Ranji Trophy was deferred from its initial start of January 13 as the country was ravaged by the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a revamped itinerary, the board has chalked up eight Elite groups of four teams each while the Plate group will comprise six teams.

The first-placed team in each Elite group will advance to the knockout stage, which is being called the ‘Super League’. The top two teams from the Plate group will gain promotion to the Elite division for the next season.

It is also learnt that Tamil Nadu have been grouped with Delhi, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh, and the quartet will play their league matches in Ahmedabad. The seven other cities for the 87th edition of the Ranji Trophy are Kolkata, Trivandrum, Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Baroda and Rajkot. The venues were fixed in light of decreasing trends in infection rates.

The BCCI, though, is yet to have a say on the women's tournaments. The senior women's T20 league and the numerous age-group competitions are still on hold.

Abhimanyu Easwaran to lead Bengal after 2019/20 high

Abhimanyu Easwaran scored 103 for India A in a four-day game vs South Africa A last November
Abhimanyu Easwaran scored 103 for India A in a four-day game vs South Africa A last November

The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) on January 3 had named a 21-member Ranji squad with batter Abhimanyu Easwaran the captain. The 26-year-old had led Bengal to the final of the 2019/20 Ranji Trophy after a gap of 13 years. Incidentally, that title match in March 2020 was the last senior red-ball domestic game in the country.

The initial Ranji Trophy schedule had Bengal slotted into Group B along with Kerala, Vidarbha, Rajasthan, Tripura and Haryana. They were scheduled to play against each other in Bengaluru.

The team is currently undergoing a preparatory camp in Kolkata under the watchful eyes of head coach Arun Lal and his support staff. They are, however, missing the services of former India batter VVS Laxman, who worked as a consultant before taking up the role of Director of Cricket at the National Cricket Academy (NCA).

All teams will undergo multiple COVID-19 tests and a short quarantine upon reaching their respective destinations.

The following players have been selected to represent #Bengal for the first #RanjiTrophy match against #Tripura at Bengaluru.#CAB

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Edited by Sai Krishna


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