Function of Challenger Trophy Cricket
The BCCI started the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy considering that the Indian national cricket team plays a large number of international cricket matches every year and this tournament would help the board to bring new cricketers for the national team. The tournament is also seen as a platform for the former international cricketers, who were forced to be out of the national team due to injury, to make a come back. The tournament is mainly played in the month of October, just before the start of Ranji season and it mainly showcases the vast talent that the country has in cricket. The day-night tournament also provides a very good opportunity to the younger players to make an impression, while playing against the best cricketers in the country and catch the eyes of the national selectors for getting a chance in the national team.
Structure of Cricket Matches in Challenger Trophy
There are only 3 teams in the tournament namely the India Senior, India A and India B and the teams compete with each other, first in a league basis and then go into playing the semi-finals and the final. The teams comprise the best 36 players of the country and it is believed to be the most authentic tournament to produce the best 11 players for the national team. The India Senior team won the first edition of the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy in 1994, and it also won the 4-day tournament, for the next 3 years. The India A and India B teams were declared as joint winners in 1998, after India seniors were ousted from the tournament and the final could not be played due to bad weather.
Recent Developments in Challenger Trophy Cricket
The trophy of the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy went to the Indian Senior team in the years of 1999 and 2000 and the 2001 trophy went to the India A team. However, the BCCI failed to organise the tournament in 2002, due to some unavoidable reasons. The India A team continued their good run in the tournament for another two years and won the trophy in 2003 and 2004, consecutively. The 2005 trophy went to the Indian Senior team. However, the BCCI changed the names of the team as Blue, Green and Red after the 2005 edition. The main reason behind changing the names was that the BCCI wanted to add a new flavour to this India based national cricket tournament. Another reason was that as there were no seniors in the tournament, by naming the teams India Green, India Blue and India red would not define which team will be the best and which will be the worst. So the audience attraction would keep intact to the tournament. Both the Red and Blue teams were declared as joint winners in 2006, when rain interrupted the final match, once again.
The India Senior team has the credit of winning the tournament for most of the times. The defending champions have won the tournament for as many as 7 times, so far. In the 2009-10 tournament, the India Red became the winners, where as in the 2010-11 tournament, the India Blue won the final match.