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A rundown on the major domestic cricket up structures in the world

A look at some popular Domestic Cricket Tournaments that gives a vague idea of the current and future strength of a country’s Cricket

Last updated: 05.03.2019
Some popular DomesticTournaments

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India, Australia, and England are the three cricketing powerhouses of the world right now, in terms of financial strength and sporting accomplishments. The major determinant of their dominance across all formats has been their strong and elaborate structure of domestic cricket which has continued to churn out world-class players for years on end. Let’s take a look at the makeup of their domestic structures :

India: India historically has had 8 major tournaments of various formats namely, Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy, Deodhar Trophy, Irani Cup, Vijay Hazare Trophy, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, BCCI Corporate Trophy, and Indian Premier League.

The Ranji Trophy is the premier first-class tournament played between 37 teams, representing all of the 29 states of India. The teams are divided into three tiers, with Tier 1 having two subgroups: Elite Group A and Elite Group C, Tier 2 has Elite Group C, and Tier 3 has one Plate Group.


The Irani Cup is a one-off match contested between The Ranji Trophy winners and the Rest Of India team. Although contextually this cup is not of much importance, it does provide a good matchup between the best domestic players in the country.

Duleep Trophy is another first-class competition which is played among three teams, India Blue, India Red, and India Green.  Until 2016-17, the teams were divided into 5 regional zones, North Zone, East Zone, West Zone, Central Zone, and South Zone. The players for the respective teams are selected by the national selection committee of the BCCI.

Vijay Hazare Trophy is the premier limited overs tournament in India which is played among the 37 teams of Ranji Trophy groups.

Deodhar Trophy is another limited overs tournament played among three teams, India A, India B, and India C. Until recently, the teams were divided into regional zones.

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy is a Twenty20 tournament played among 27 state teams. Performances in this tournament influence selection in IPL teams.

Indian Premier League is the premier domestic Twenty20 competition in India and also the biggest cricket league in the world. It has 8 teams representing 8 different Indian cities. The involvement of overseas players is what makes this competition very lucrative. Each team can have a maximum of 4 overseas players in their playing eleven.

Australia: Australia has 5 major competitions at the domestic level, including two for women. These are Sheffield Shield, JLT One Day Cup, Big Bash League, Women’s Big Bash League and Women’s National Cricket League.

The Sheffield Shield is the premier first-class competition of Australia played among all of its 6 state teams. The competition is played in a double round robin format, with each team playing against all other teams twice; home and away. The top two teams then play the final at the home of the top-ranked team.

JLT One Day Cup is a limited overs format played among the six state teams. It is played in a round robin format, though it was a knockout competition in it’s early years. A few other teams like the New Zealand's national team and Cricket Australia XI have also participated in this competition in the past.

The Big Bash League is a franchise based Twenty20 competition with 8 teams representing 6 cities. It replaced the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash in 2011, which had six state teams instead. The competition is played in a double round robin format with home and away matches, and the top 4 teams qualify for the semi-finals.

Women’s Big Bash League is identical to the men's competition, having the same franchise based teams. It replaced the Australian Women’s Twenty20 Cup in 2015.

Women’s National League is a limited overs tournament played among the six state teams. The final is played between the top two teams in a best of three series at the home of the top-ranked team.

England: England has three major Trophies, The County Championship, Royal London One Day Cup and the T20 Blast.

The County Championship is first class competition which had 17 teams until 1992, when Durham became it’s 18th member. The teams are divided into two groups of 8 and 10. There is also a mechanism of promotion and relegation on the basis of points.

The Royal London One Day Cup is limited overs competition with 18 teams divided into groups(north and south). Each team plays 8 matches and the top 3 from each group qualify for the playoffs.

The T20 Blast, formerly named as the Twenty20 Cup, is the first domestic Twenty20 competition in the world. This competition also has two groups of 9 each, and the top 4 from both the groups qualify for the playoffs.

Counties also have a provision for playing overseas players, however, not all players are counted as overseas. Players from other countries which have a free trade agreement with the EU can play as local players on the condition that the don’t play international cricket for their home country during the time period. This agreement is popularly known as the Kolpack.

Any team’s performance at the international stage is a good indicator of the strength of its domestic structure and vice versa. Increased funds have resulted in attracting more players and there are more full-time professional players now than at any time in history.  Given how successful these teams have been historically and generally, it’s safe to say that although not deprived of weaknesses, they have managed to create a successful formula for the working of a domestic cricket structure.

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