The BCCI's technical committee, headed by former India captain Sourav Ganguly, on Tuesday called for a major revamp of the Ranji Trophy by recommending the doing away with of the earlier Elite and Plate Divisions and making it a 27-team tournament.
The Committee, which met here for over two hours, recommended an overhaul of the elite domestic event, which has been struggling for relevance. The BCCI's Working Committee will now study the recommendations and decide on whether to implement them or not.
According to the new format, the 27 teams will be divided into three groups of nine teams each and each team will play eight matches in the league stage. The quarterfinals and semifinals will also be five-day affairs now.
In the previous format, Elite Division was divided into two groups of eight teams (A) and seven teams (B). The Plate Division was divided into two groups (A and B) consisting of six teams each.
"We have recommended two major changes in Ranji Trophy format. There will be nine teams in three groups A, B and C. Each team will play eight matches in the league stage and there will be promotion and relegation," Ganguly told reporters after the meeting.
"The changes will make the competition even and each team will play a few more matches. But all these are recommendations and the BCCI Working Committee will take the final decision," he added.
The new format brings parity in the number of matches that the teams will play against each other in the league stage. Earlier, in the Plate Division, a side could play five matches at the preliminary level.
The top three from group B at the end of the season would be promoted to group A, while the bottom three from the latter group would be relegated to group B.
The last two from group B would go down further to group C, from where the top two would be promoted to group B.
Besides, the committee decided to make the quarterfinals and the semifinals of the tournament five-day affairs instead of the four-day matches that were played till this season.
The final will remain a five-day match as has been the norm.
If in the Ranji Trophy knockout phase, a result on first innings is not obtained at the end of the fifth day, then the match will be extended into a sixth day.
If a result on first innings is not obtained even at the end of the sixth day, then the winner will be decided on the spin of a coin.
Regarding the Ranji Trophy points system, an outright win win give the team six points while both teams will get three points each in case of a tie on both innings. If a team wins by an innings or by 10 wickets, it will get one bonus point.
A first Innings lead but no outright win will give the team three points while a loss on first innings will fetch one point. A tie on first innings without outright result will result to both teams getting one point each. If the innings results were not achieved with or without weather interference, one point will be awarded to each team.
According to another recommendation of the Technical Committee, each Under-22 side will now be called the 'A' team of that association. Players who are below 25 years of age, as on September 1 of that year in which the season starts, will be eligible to be a part of the team.
Every team will be allowed to field three Ranji Trophy players (those who have figured in the playing XI in the Ranji Trophy in the ongoing season or immediate preceding season) in each game.
In Under-16 tournaments, all matches in the knockout stage will be four-day affairs.
The domestic tournaments, according to recommendations of the Technical Committee, will be played in the order of Duleep Trophy, NKP Salve Challenger Trophy, Ranji Trophy, Irani Cup, Vijay Hazare Trophy, Deodhar Trophy, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
There will be two Irani Cup games in the 2012-13 season. In September, Rajasthan, the Ranji Champions of 2011-12, will play the Rest of India.
After the Ranji Trophy final in early 2013, the 2012-13 Ranji Champions will play the Rest of India.