Our correspondents S. Dinakar, A. Vinod, and V. V. Subrahmanyam will be sending us all the updates straight from the venues.
This is Santadeep Dey, taking you through all the action as it unfurls in different stadiums across the country.
Andhra v Vidarbha: Fifer for Stephen with a two-wicket maiden! First, he gets rid of Lalit Yadav, with an absolutely unplayable inswinging yorker. Next, it was Gurbani who softly edges one to KS Bharat. Vidarbha 354/9 in 124.5 overs.
Kerala vs Delhi: Our correspondent A. Vinod reports: "Jalaj Saxena is on fire, the spinner getting his fourth wicket trapping Lalit Yadav leg before. Delhi 75 for six."
Chhattisgarh v Odisha: Odisha clinches its first victory as well, by an innings and three runs. Chhattisgarh could never find the plot, and Odisha ends up bagging seven points.
Andhra v Vidarbha: Ganesh Sathish has bounced right back! A questionable form in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and then the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy doesnt stop him from getting to his 150 off 294 balls in the very first Ranji Trophy match of the 2019-20 season.
Kerala vs Delhi: Our correspondent A. Vinod reports: "Delhi 73 for five as Nitish Rana is out, caught Uthappa off Monish. The former champion side is now in dire straits."
Himachal vs Saurashtra: Saurashtra did lose five wickets, including that of big man Pujara cheaply, but alls well that ends well. It beats Himachal by five wickets to register its first win of the season with six points.
Uttar Pradesh v Railways: Pace sensation Shivam Mavi has sent Avinash Yadav back to the dugout to take his wicket count to four. Railways 130/7 after 33.4 overs.
Kerala vs Delhi: Our correspondent A. Vinod reports: "Jonty Sidhu is caught by Asif in the deep off Jalaj and Delhi is reduced to 67 for four. Nitish Rana batting on 23."
Rajasthan v Punjab: INNINGS BREAK: That didnt take time... Markandes wicket is followed by Baltej Singhs, 11 balls later. Punjab - 358/10 in 98.4 overs (Ashwani Kumar n.o. 0 off 0).
Rajasthan v Punjab: S K Sharma has taken the prized scalp of Mayank Markande to complete his four-for with figures of 22.0-3-82-4. Punjab meanwhile is nine down now for 348.
Kerala vs Delhi: Our correspondent A. Vinod reports: "After having held out against the home team bowling for close to fifty minutes, Delhi loses its third wicket as Dhruv Shorey is snapped up by Uthappa off Monish. Shorey made 19. Delhi 59 for three, Nitish Rana batting on 15."
Andhra v Vidarbha: Another short delivery from Prithvi Raj Yarra sees Akshay Wakhare trying to move away from the line for cover. With no clue as to how to face the delivery, he gifts a sitter to the short leg fielder. Vidarbha 309/7 after 109.5 overs, leads by 106 runs.
Himachal v Saurashtra: That is the biggest fish in Saurashtras net! Cheteshwar Pujara scores only 14 off 16 before taking the long walk back to the pavilion. P P Jaswal takes the wicket as Saurashtra slips to 135/5.
Manipur v Mizoram: We have the first result this season as Manipur wins by six wickets! It bags six points to jump to the top of the group.
Andhra v Vidarbha: Aditya Sarvate has been gotten rid of by Prithvi Raj Yarra: caught behind. The ball sharply zips outwards as Sarvate swings, and swings really hard. He fails to read the pace on it and KS Bharat had little to do. Easy as it goes! FOW: 307/6, 107.3 overs.
Chandigarh v Arunachal Pradesh: Gurinder makes it five with Kengos scalp! 50.2 overs and Chandigarh is close to drawing the curtains on Arunachal Pradeshs innings. Score: 175/9 .
Uttarakhand v Jammu and Kashmir: Uttarakhand has lost four of its wickets cheaply, the side having posted just 42.
Chandigarh v Arunachal Pradesh: As Arunachal Pradeshs seventh wicket goes down, Gurinder Singh gets his four-for nabbing Rahul Dalal. It is a big wicket, with Dalal having posted 81(94). Arunachal Pradesh 171/7 after 48.5 overs.
Hyderabad v Gujarat: INNINGS BREAK: Our correspondent V. V. Subrahmanyam reports: "Gujarat all out for 313 with left-arm pacer Chama Milind sending back Roosh Kalaria but not before he carted him for two huge sixes in the same over on offside. So, Hyderabad conceded a first innings lead of 80 runs."
Nagaland v Meghalaya: INNINGS BREAK: Finally! Bohoto gets rid of L Chettri. Meghalaya folds for 142 in 48.1 overs. That is a decent score, considering it was 81/9 after 28.6 overs. Nagaland needs 292 runs to win.
Andhra v Vidarbha: Vidarbha wicketkeeper Akshay Wadkars wicket falls, courtesy a shorter delivery from Stephen which just manages to clip the top of off stump. Stephen has three wickets marked against his name now. FOW: 282/5, 100.3 overs.
Baroda v Mumbai: INNINGS BREAK: With S I Sopariyas dismissal, we have come to the end of Barodas innings. The scoreboard reads 307/10 after 70.1 overs. Additionally, with that wicket, Shams Mulani completes his six-wicket haul. Baroda trails by 124 runs.
Manipur v Mizoram: More trouble! Rex Singh, promoted up the order, fails to deliver, as well. He has been trapped in front for 10(12) by Taruwar Kohli. Manipur 27/3 after 7.5 overs, needs 35 runs to win.
Manipur v Mizoram: Manipur finds itself in trouble, having lost its second wicket in no time now. Al Bashid is out for a duck as the side struggles at 17/2 after 5.3 overs. The Plate side needs to have a partnership at this point.
Assam v Services: Assam medium pacer Mukhtar Hussain gets Gahlaut to walk for 13 (32). Services 144/5 after 52.1 overs.
Manipur v Mizoram: First wicket of the day falls at the Videocon Ground in Kolkata. Manipur loses its opener Santosh for 16 after 4.4 overs.
Assam v Services: Rajat Paliwal and Rahul Singh Gahlaut resume batting on Day 3. Services has gone past a 100-run lead.
Ranji Trophy Round 1, Day 2 scores at Stumps
Elite Group A: Kerala 525/9 vs Delhi at stumps
Elite Group A: Punjab 203/5 trails Rajasthan 257/10 by 54 runs
Elite Group A: Vidarbha 268/4 leads Andhra 211/10 by 57 runs
Elite Group A: Gujarat 295/9 leads Hyderabad 233/10 by 62 runs
Elite Group B: Saurashtra 141 & 96/3 needs 66 more runs to win against Himachal Pradesh 120/10 & 182/10
Elite Group B: Tamil Nadu 165/4 trails Karnataka 336/10 by 171 runs
Elite Group B: Railways 253/10 & 58/5 leads Uttar Pradesh 175/10 by 136 runs
Elite Group B: Mumbai 431/10 leads Baroda 301/9 by 130 runs
Elite Group C: Chhattisgarh 134/10 & 45/1 trails Odisha 215/10 by 36 runs
Elite Group C: Jharkhand 136/10 & 91/2 trails Tripura 289/10 by 62 runs
Elite Group C: Haryana 401/10 leads Maharashtra 88/4 by 313 runs
Elite Group C: Services 124/10 & 130/4 leads Assam 162/10 by 92 runs
Elite Group C: Uttarakhand 84 & 18/3 needs 385 more runs to win against Jammu and Kashmir 182/10 & 304/10
Plate Group: Meghalaya 285/10 & 89/9 leads Nagaland 136/10 by 238 runs
Plate Group: Mizoram 65/10 & 290/10 leads Manipur 289/10 by 66 runs
Plate Group: Arunachal Pradesh 147/10 & 164/6 trails Chandigarh 503/2declared by 192 runs
Plate Group: Sikkim 136/10 & 22/2 trails Goa 436/6 declared by 278 runs
Assam v Services
ACA Stadium, Barsapara, Guwahati
Manipur v Mizoram
Videocon Ground, Kolkata
Nagaland v Meghalaya
Nagaland Cricket Stadium, Sovima
Tripura v Jharkhand
MBB Stadium, Agartala
Bihar v Pondicherry
Moin ul haq stadium, Patna
Chhattisgarh v Odisha
Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium, Raipur
Hyderabad v Gujarat (PREVIEW)
Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad
Elite A and B
Kerala v Delhi (PREVIEW)
St. Xaviers KCA Cricket Ground, Trivandrum
Elite A and B
Rajasthan v Punjab
Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
Elite A and B
Andhra v Vidarbha (PREVIEW)
Devineni Venkata Ramana Praneetha Ground, Mulapadu
Elite A and B
Himachal v Saurashtra
Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamsala
Elite A and B
Tamil Nadu v Karnataka (PREVIEW)
NPR College Ground, Dindigul
Elite A and B
Uttar Pradesh v Railways
Victoria Park Stadium, Meerut
Elite A and B
Baroda v Mumbai
Reliance Cricket Stadium, Vadodara
Elite A and B
Haryana v Maharashtra
Chaudhry Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium, Lahli
Uttarakhand v Jammu and Kashmir
Abhimanyu Cricket Academy, Dehradun
Chandigarh v Arunachal Pradesh
Cricket Stadium, Sector-16, Chandigarh
Goa v Sikkim
Goa Cricket Association Academy, Porvorim
Relevance and context. These are the oft-used terms when it comes to discussing the fate of Test cricket in an era of instant results. When it comes to the 86th Ranji Trophy, which starts on Monday with 19 matches scheduled to get underway in the opening league round, one can’t help but wonder whether the biggest edition — at least in terms of the number of participating teams — will also struggle to find relevance and context over the next three months.
With the overbearing emergence of India A tours, the Ranji Trophy is no longer the most important tournament for a domestic cricketer to knock on the doors of the national selectors and get a call-up in the Test squad. Also, India’s international fixtures are so dominated by white-ball cricket in 2020 that the Ranji Trophy performances are hardly going to matter in the larger scheme of things.
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India is not scheduled to play a Test match at home until February, 2021. Besides, after the two Tests in New Zealand in February-March, Virat Kohli’s men could well wear whites only in November, in Australia. As a result, the Ranji Trophy this time around is most likely going to be about cricketers ‘playing for pride’ and to stake a claim for soon-to-be-introduced domestic contracts.
No wonder then that during the week-long gap between the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and the Ranji Trophy, most Ranji teams saw Indian Premier League (IPL) aspirants prefer to skip training at the cost of pre-auction trials organised by virtually all the IPL franchisees.
Hat-trick or treble?
Despite the oddities, the cricket connoisseurs will be hoping either for a rare hat-trick or the first treble in the history of domestic cricket to be achieved in March, 2020. No team except Bombay — which won 15 successive triumphs from 1958-59 to 1972-73 — has won three titles in a row. Vidarbha — with captain Faiz Fazal and coach Chandrakant Pandit at the helm — is hoping to join the domestic powerhouse to achieve the rare feat. With the core of the team having virtually remained the same for the third season in succession, Vidarbha can well continue to stamp its supremacy on the coveted trophy yet again.
Read | Ranji Trophy 2019-20 FAQs
The biggest challenge Vidarbha will face will be by Karnataka. The southern giant has already maintained a clean record, having swept the white-ball season with the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy triumphs. It will be hoping to become the first team to complete the treble of inter-State titles in a season by winning Ranji.
Only if one of these two teams emerges champion will the Ranji Trophy’s 86th edition not lack in relevance or context.de