Meghalaya has been pooled with top sides Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala in Elite Group A of the rejigged Ranji Trophy, details of which were announced today by BCCI Secretary Jay Shah.

This is the first time that the Meghalaya men’s team will feature in an elite group. There has not been any Ranji Trophy cricket in the country since early 2020 because of the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. In that last season, Meghalaya won five of their nine matches and lost only three.

The first-class domestic season was set to begin last month but the start was delayed by the third wave of the pandemic. The BCCI has now announced that the tournament will begin on February 10, though the fixtures have not been finalised.

Meghalaya and its competitors will play their matches in Rajkot, Gujarat.

There are eight elite groups in all and one plate group. The 38 participating teams have been divided into more groups than usual this year to mitigate any cross-transmission risk while also ensuring that the bio-bubbles set up are not overburdened.

The top seven elite group teams will qualify directly for the quarterfinals while the bottom elite group team and the top plate group side will face off in a pre-quarterfinal before the last-eight round.

The group stage will run from February 10 to March 15. The Ranji Trophy will then take a break, to accommodate the Indian Premier League, before the knockout round is held from May 30 to June 26.

Meghalaya’s squad will be confirmed in the coming days. Despite the uncertainty regarding the tournament, the probables have been training hard at Polo Ground in anticipation of a historic season for the state.