Both Saurashtra and Madhya Pradesh to play Irani Cups in 2022-23
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Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy to be played between October 11 and December 2

Madhya Pradesh celebrate after the win, Madhya Pradesh vs Mumbai, Ranji Trophy final 2021-22, Bangalore, June 26, 2022

Madhya Pradesh are the defending champions of the Ranji Trophy  •  PTI

The BCCI has awarded both Saurashtra and Madhya Pradesh an opportunity to compete in the Irani Cup during the 2022-23 season.

Saurashtra will play the season-opener against Rest of India from October 1-5 at Rajkot, their home ground, while Madhya Pradesh, winners of the 2021-22 Ranji Trophy, will play their corresponding fixture from March 1-5 in Indore.

The board issued a circular to all state associations, with the calendar along with venues for the 2022-23 season. There had been some miscommunication earlier when it was assumed MP would play the season-opening Irani Cup.

The squad had also begun their pre-season training, with special emphasis on red-ball cricket, on the assumption that they would be playing this fixture.

Saurashtra were belatedly awarded the game they were denied in 2020, when they beat Bengal to clinch their maiden Ranji Trophy crown. They were slated to host the Irani Cup the following week, but the game was postponed indefinitely owing to the onset of the covid-19 pandemic that led to a nationwide lockdown in India.

Meanwhile, Kolkata and Ahmedabad will host the knockout stages of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) and Vijay Hazare Trophy (VHT), respectively. SMAT, the domestic T20 event, will take place from October 11 to November 5, while the VHT one-day competition will run from November 12 to December 2.

Lucknow, Indore, Rajkot, Punjab and Jaipur will host the league-stage matches of the SMAT, while Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Kolkata and Ranchi will stage the VHT league fixtures.

The BCCI is conducting a full-fledged domestic season in 2022-23 after truncated versions in 2020-21 and 2021-22 because of the pandemic.

The season will begin with the Duleep Trophy, from September 8 to 25 across three venues – Coimbatore, Pondicherry and Chennai, while the Ranji Trophy – back in the home-and-away format, will be played from December 12 and February 20.

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