Duleep trophy is a five and a half decade old domestic cricket tournament named after Kumar Shri Duleepsinhji of Nawanagar. Duleepsinhji was a cricketer who played for England. Duleep trophy was started by Board of Control for Cricket in India in the 1961-1962 season.
In the tournament five Indian zonal teams take part: North Zone, West Zone, East Zone, South Zone and Central Zone. Each team represents geographical zones of India. Each zonal team is a team of cricketers who play for the Ranji trophy situated in that region of India.
Original format of the tournament was on knock-out basis. In 1993-1994 season, it was made into a league tournament. In 2002-2003 season, Zonal teams were replaced by five new teams: Elite A, Elite B, Elite C, Plate A and Plate B. For rest of the season till 2008, a foreign team has also been invited. The format has again been converted into a five team knock-out tournament, reducing the duration of the tournament.
A budding cricketer would get good exposure and confidence by playing with best cricketers of every zone. Many of the Indian cricketers like Saurav Ganguly and Dilip Vengsarkar were into Indian team by strong performance in it. A cricketer’s natural progression is from Ranji trophy to Duleep and then India.
BCCI has scrapped Duleep Trophy for 2015-16 season due to packed schedule of domestic and international cricket in the coming months.