The biggest first-class competition in the world - the Ranji Trophy - will enter its 86th season when action gets underway from December 9, Monday. The 37-team tournament has a new entrant in Chandigarh this year. We take a look at the five talking points from the upcoming Ranji season.
Which is the most successful team in Ranji history?
Mumbai (Bombay) has been the most successful team in Ranji history. It has won the competition 41 times. Vidarbha has won two back-to-back titles and will be eyeing a record third. It will face stiff competition from Karnataka which is aiming a treble, havin already bagged the Vijay Hazare and Syed Mushtaq Ali titles.
Will any India internationals be part of the Ranji Trophy?
Mayank Agarwal is likley to be available for almost the entirety of the tournament. The 28-year-old has been in red hot form for India in Tests and will shore up a Karnataka top-order that had failed to click during the 2018-19 campaign. Manish Pandey will miss the opening two games. With the New Zealand tour coming up in February, KL Rahul too has the chance to impress the selectors.
Any new entrants this season?
For the first time since it came into existence as a union territory in 1966, Chandigarh will have its own team playing in the Ranji Trophy. The city has for many years been a cricketing hub and the breeding ground for eminent cricketers playing for both Punjab and Haryana. Meanwhile, Uttarakhand has been promoted to Group C after securing a quarterfinal berth last year, while Goa has been relegated to Plate division.
What about the format?
The five teams from Groups A and B combined - consisting nine teams each - will qualify for the knockouts. Two teams will qualify from Group C and there will be one entrant from Plate Group, comprising 10 teams.
Prominent transfers ahead of Ranji Trophy 2019-20
Robin Uthappa: Saurashtra to Kerala
Arun Karthik: Kerala to Puducherry
Smit Patel: Tripura to Goa
Vinay Kumar: Karnataka to Puducherry
KB Pawan: Nagaland to Mizoram
Yashpal Singh: Manipur to Sikkim
Shrikant Mundhe: Maharashtra to Nagaland
Maloland Rangarajan: Uttarakhand to Tamil Nadu
Rahil Shah: Tamil Nadu to Uttarakhand
Dwaraka Ravi Teja: Andhra Pradesh to Meghalaya
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