Duleep Trophy

Full Current Name: Mastercard Duleep trophy
Tournament Country: India
Tournament Administrator: Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)
Cricket Forms: First-Class
Current Champion: West zone cricket team
Nearest Tournament: 8 September 2022 - 25 September 2022
Format Tournament: Knockout
Numbers Of Team: 6
Duleep Trophy

Duleep Trophy: the history of the Indian tournament

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Duleep Trophy

The Duleep Trophy domestic professional tournament was first held in 1961. Its matches are held in the format of first-class cricket. For a long time, teams that represented different geographical zones of India competed in the championship. But since 2016, the BCCI has decided to change the name of the clubs. The Duleep Trophy consists of a group stage and a playoff round. Only three sports teams participated in the last season of the tournament. In this article, we explain what this championship is and why there are so few sports clubs in it.

Duleep Trophy – the first seasons of the tournament

In 1961, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) created the 3rd domestic cricket championship called the Duleep Trophy. To date, the tournament is held in the format of first-class cricket (one game lasts 3-5 days). The BCCI sponsors and manages the championship. It is the national sports body that is responsible for the development of cricket in India.

The Duleep Trophy championship was named after the famous cricketer Kumar Shri Dullepsinhji (1905-1959). Kumar has played for the England national team, as well as for clubs such as Sussex County cricket club, Cambridge University cricket club and Hindus cricket club.

The debut season of the Dullep Trophy was launched in September 1961. Five zonal teams participated in the tournament – Central Zone, East Zone, North Zone, South Zone and West Zone. A zonal team is a team of several professional teams, which in turn play at the Ranji Trophy. The clubs competed against each other in elimination matches. The 1st winner of the tournament was the West Zone team.

Each zone consists of several teams representing different states and regions of India: 

North Zone South Zone Central Zone East Zone West Zone
Delhi CT;
Haryana CT;
Himachal Pradesh CT;
Jammu and Kashmir CT;Punjab CT;
Services CT;
Andhra CT
Goa CT;
Hyderabad CT;
Karnataka CT;
Kerala CT;
Tamil Nadu CT
Chhattisgarh CT;
Madhya Pradesh CT;
Railways CT;
Rajasthan CT;
Uttar Pradesh CT;
Vidarbha CT.
Assam CT;
Bengal CT;
Jharkhand CT;
Odisha CT;
Tripura CT.
Baroda CT;
Gujarat CT;
Maharashtra CT;
Mumbai CT;
Saurashtra CT.

Elimination matches were held until 1993. Since the 1993-1994 season, the competition has switched to a league format.

Duleep Trophy – the first seasons of the tournament

Duleep Trophy – different game formats

Throughout its history, the rules and format of the championship have changed several times. For example, in 2002, the zonal teams were replaced by completely different five teams (this happened because the format in the Ranji Trophy changed). There were such divisions as Elite A, Elite B, Elite C, Plate A and Plate B. However, this format lasted only a year, and the championship returned to the traditional zonal teams.

Since 2003, another foreign sports team has been added to the five clubs. Once a season (until 2008), the foreign team changed. Here are the clubs that were able to participate in the Duleep Trophy:

  • England A (now England Lions cricket team) – 2003 and 2007;
  • Bangladesh cricket team – 2004;
  • Zimbabwe Cricket Union President’s XI – 2005;
  • Sri Lanka A cricket team – 2006.

Then, until 2015, 5 zonal teams took part again. By the way, during the zonal championship, the North Zone and West Zone became the most successful teams. Each zone won 18 trophies. This account includes one overall victory in 1989 plus two more overall victories of the West Zone with the South Zone.

Duleep Trophy – different game formats

In 2015-2016, the tournament was not held. Since the 2016-2017 season, the competition has changed again. This time, the BCCI chose only three teams named India Blue, India Green, and India Red. The National Council also chose the composition of the teams.

The new clubs played immediately in the group stage, from where the top two teams advanced to the final. The games were held in a day/night format using a pink ball. However, the last season (2019-2020) was held with a red ball since the matches were held only during the day. Note that the first-class season of the 2020-2021 Dullep Trophy was canceled due to COVID-19.

In 2021, the record holder for the number of runs is a former cricketer – Wasim Jaffer. He earned 2,545 runs during the period 1997-2013. And the most striking player at the moment is Narendra Hirwani. In 1987-2004, he was able to knock out 126 wickets.

Nisha Bhavani
Author: Nisha Bhavani Position: Cricket Expert

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