British may have plundered India, but during the 200-year rule, it also gave India some valuable gifts. One such being the introduction of cricket. Cricket is not just a sport in India; it is deep-rooted in the Indian culture, and every child in the country has been raised either watching or playing the game. Over time, many domestic and international cricket leagues have been launched in the country. Not only do these keep the surge of excitement going, but it also enables young talent to come ahead and put their best foot forward.
Just before the Indian Premier League was rolled out, there was the Indian Cricket League. During its short stint from 2007 to 2009, matches were played in the Twenty20 format. They included tournaments between four international teams – World XI, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh – and nine domestic teams from nine major Indian cities as well as from Lahore, Pakistan and Dhaka. A domestic 50-over tournament was also planned to take place, but that never got to see the light of day. But the ICL lacked commercial support as well as the confidence of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) or the International Cricket Council (ICC) and hence, folded in 2009. In its place came the Indian Premier League which genuinely changed the way cricket was consumed in the country.
Since its inception in 2008, the IPL has gone on to become the most-watched and attended Indian cricket league in the world. The professional Twenty20 tournament is played by eight teams representing eight different cities in India. Each team comprises players from the Indian and International cricket teams. As of now, there have been 12 IPL tournaments, but given the current situation of COVID-19, it seems unlikely that the cricket league will take place this year. Sure, this strikes as bad news to all those who were looking forward to seeing their favourite cricketers in action. Fret not – everything’s not lost yet because fans can still enjoy fantasy cricket on Paytm First Games and experience the cricket craziness!
While IPL is the most popular league cricket in India, Ranji trophy is the most sought after. Named after Ranjitsinhji, the first Indian cricketer to play international cricket, the opening match of the competition was held in November 1934 between Madras and Mysore. Today, the tournament is classified as first-class cricket which is the highest standard for international and domestic cricket. Mumbai holds the record of winning the trophy the most number of times – 41 times including 15 back-to-back wins from 1958–59 to 1972–73!
While we are talking about the different cricket leagues played in India, a special mention needs to be given to the growing popularity of women’s cricket in the country. There is the Senior Women’s One Day League and Inter-State Women’s Twenty20 Competition that provides a platform for women passionate about the sport to showcase their talent on the field and shine a spotlight on all the talent that is yet to be tapped upon in the country.
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