Duleep Trophy is a first-class domestic cricket championship played in India between various teams representing different geographical zones of the country. Like other domestic games like Ranji and Irani, this cricket tournament is also very popular cricket tournament in the country, not only from the selector’s point of view but also from a cricket lover’s view point. The Duleep trophy is popular amongst players as this game not only provides them opportunity to exhibit their talent but also make their team a proud champion amongst the various regional teams of the country. The game was started with a perspective of creating a popular domestic tournament on the lines of Ranji Trophy.
Named after Kumar Shri Duleepsinghjee, an outstanding personality in first-class cricket, this competition was started by the Board of Control for Cricket in India in the 1961-62. This competition in last four decades has not only raised the standards of domestic cricket but along with Ranji and Irani, it has also helped in keeping the activeness of cricket alive on the domestic grounds. It has completely fulfilled its basic objective to facilitate a proper review of the Indian players by ensuring their involvement in premier domestic tournaments. The opening tournament of this Duleep trophy was won by West Zone who defeated South Zone in the final of the tournament by 10 wickets. By now, the North Zone has been the most successful team in the Duleep Trophy with 17 trophies.
Pattern of the Game
This trophy started as a competition between various cricketing zones in the country. The teams are - North Zone, Central Zone, East Zone, West Zone and South Zone which were divided according to their geographical location on the Indian Map. It was played in a knock-out format among the five zonal teams before the 1993-94 seasons, after which the competition was rechristened into a league format. In 2002-2003, one more experiment was done and the teams were divided on elite and plate pattern, very similar to the Ranji pattern. However, this pattern was to be replaced again with the original team pattern as new teams complained of the loss of identity in this kind of format. Now again the Duleep trophy is played between the five geographical zones of the country along with a sixth team which is called a ‘guest team’. The sixth team is generally a foreign team offered to play a domestic tournament in India.