Bangalore, Jul 20: India's 2012-13 domestic season will get under way on September 21 with the five-day Irani Cup match between reigning Ranji Trophy champions Rajasthan and Rest of India in Jaipur, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Friday.
BCCI also announced this season's Ranji Trophy groups and also the schedule for other major domestic tournaments.
Irani Cup will be followed by the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy and the Duleep Trophy, in October 2012. The NKP Salve Challenger Trophy will feature Bengal, the 2011-12 Vijay Hazare Trophy winners, and two other teams picked by the All-India Senior Selection Committee.
The 2012-13's Ranji Trophy will start on November 2, 2012. This time there will be three groups with nine teams each. BCCI has done away with Elite and Plate groups from this year.
Three teams from Group A, three from Group B, and two from Group C, will qualify for the knockout stage, which will be played in January 2013.
The fourth edition of the Raj Singh Dungarpur Corporate Trophy will be played after the Ranji Trophy final. The first three editions of the tournament had been played in September.
The Corporate Trophy will be followed by the second Irani Cup game of the season, in which the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy winners will take on the Rest of India. Subsequent editions of the Irani Cup will be played after the Ranji Trophy final of the same season, BCCI said in a media release.
The season will end with the limited-overs tournaments - the inter-state One-Day, the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the Deodhar Trophy, and finally, the inter-state T20 League and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
The Ranji Trophy groups, as per the new format
Group A: Rajasthan, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Madhya Pradesh, Saurashtra, Railways, Bengal, Punjab, Gujarat
Group B: Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Baroda, Delhi, Vidarbha, Odisha
Group C: Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Services, Tripura, Goa, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Assam.