Renowned Domestic Cricket Leagues of India

No other country comes close to India in terms of the craze for the sport of cricket. Hundreds of millions of diehard cricket fans reside in the country, most of which closely follow all major tournaments around the globe since doing so allows them to watch their favorite teams and players create magic on the field.

Besides watching their favorite cricket matches on screens, hardcore fans of the sport also love indulging in fantasy cricket games of different types. This outlet benefits users in numerous ways. For starters, it allows them to put their theoretical knowledge about the game to the test. In addition, it also offers players the golden chance to win real money merely by playing fantasy cricket matches. 

Besides following prestigious international tournaments like the World Cup, Indian fans love watching domestic tournaments. Numerous domestic tournaments are held in India throughout the year to cater to the need of fans to watch cricket matches all year. Here is a detailed look at some of the most renowned domestic cricket leagues of India:

  • Indian Premier League

The IPL, or the Indian Premier League, is the biggest domestic cricket tournament globally. It is the Indian alternative to Australia’s Big Bash League but on a much bigger scale. The first edition of the IPL was held in 2008. Ever since then, the popularity of the franchise has exponentially increased. Every year, a new edition of the tournament is held in which multiple state-based teams compete against each other to lift the prestigious trophy. 

The 16th edition of IPL is just around the corner. In the tournament, 10 teams will compete against each other to clinch the title. The 10 teams have been divided into two groups – A and B. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the playoffs and compete for the IPL trophy.

This tournament features everything from star-studded teams comprising domestic and foreign players, lavish pre and post-match interviews, exceptional venues, and popular team owners. The domestic cricket league has also inspired many other countries to host their domestic leagues, including West Indies, Pakistan, etc.

  • Ranji Trophy

The domestic tournament that sparked the scene for hosting domestic cricket leagues for nurturing cricket talent in the country was the Ranji Trophy. The first edition of the tournament was played in 1934. At the time, the idea for starting the tournament was put forward by BCCI’s founder, A.S. De Mello. However, the tournament was not always known as “Ranji Trophy.” 

In the beginning, the name given to it was “Cricket Championship of India,” followed by “Ranjitsinhji.” The latter name was assigned after the first international cricketer hailing from India. The classic domestic tournament is based on a round-robin format. The qualified teams play against each other in the knockout stages.  

38 regional teams participate in the tournament, making the competition very tough and challenging. The teams are divided into two groups, namely the plate league and the elite league. Bombay is deemed the most successful Ranji trophy team ever since it has won 41 titles in total. 

  • BCCI Vijay Hazare Trophy

The BCCI Vijay Hazare Trophy is India’s biggest domestic ODI tournament. The tournament is popular for featuring the same 38 teams participating and competing in the Ranji Trophy tournament. The tournament is named after Vijay Hazare, who was one of India’s best cricketers. 

Similar to the Ranji Trophy tournament’s format, teams play matches based on the round-robin format. Then, the qualified teams play in the knockout stages. One of the most appealing features of this domestic tournament is that it showcases a much higher level of competition amongst teams than in other tournaments. 

  • Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

The inaugural edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) was held in 2006-07, and it immediately gathered a massive fan following in the country. The domestic T20 tournament is considered one of India’s biggest T20 championships. The teams which participate in the Ranji Trophy and BCCI Vijay Hazare Trophy tournaments also take part in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy league.

What makes this tournament stand out from the rest is its short format. The T20 matches between teams make fans sit on the edge of their seats throughout their duration. Tamil Nadu has won the tournament thrice, whereas Karnataka, Gujarat, and Baroda have won the trophy only twice. 

  • Irani Cup

Besides the Ranji Trophy tournament, Irani Cup is another top-tier domestic fixture that receives immense love from the masses. The tournament’s first edition was held in the 1959-60 season. It was held to celebrate the silver jubilee of the Ranji Trophy tournament. 

The Irani Cup is a type of first-class fixture wherein the winner of the Ranji Trophy plays and competes against the Rest of India. Despite being a single match between two teams, the Irani Cup enjoys the popularity of a full-fledged tournament since a special trophy is awarded to the winner of the game.

The cup is named after Z.R. Irani, who was an important member of the BCCI at the time of its inception. The Rest of India is considered the most successful team in the history of the Irani Cup. It is also the defending champions of the Irani Cup since they defeated Madhya Pradesh in the final match. 

The aforementioned domestic tournaments not only allow fans to enjoy intense cricket action all year long but also offer youngsters with the dream of making it big in the professional cricket world the stage to showcase their talents.