HistoryThe competition was launched as "The Cricket Championship of India" following a meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India in July 1934, with the first fixtures taking place in 1934–35. The trophy was donated by His Highness Maharajadhiraj Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, for whose team Patiala XI Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji played . The first Ranji Trophy Championship was won by Bombay after they defeated North India in the final. Syed Mohammed Hadi of Hyderabad was the first batsman to score a hundred.
Mumbai (formerly Bombay) have been the dominant team in the Championship so far, with 39 wins, including 15 back-to-back wins from 1958–59 to 1972–73.
FormatMost of the teams playing in the Ranji Trophy represent states of India. However, there are teams that represent individual cities such as Mumbai or Hyderabad. The competition also includes teams that have no regional affiliations, such as Railways and Services. Up until the 2002–03 season, the teams were grouped into five zones – North, West, East, Central and South – and initial matches were played within the zones on a league basis. The top teams (two until 1991–92, three after that) from each zone played in a national knock-out competition, leading to a final which decided the winner of the tournament.
Points in the league stages of both divisions are awarded as follows:
|Bonus Point (for innings and 10 wicket wins)||1|
|1st Innings Lead||3 *|
|1st Innings Deficit||1 *|
The Super League is divided into two groups of eight and seven teams, while the Plate League is divided into two groups of six teams each. In both divisions, the top two teams from each group advance to the knock-out phase. The finalists from the Plate League are promoted to the Super League the next year while the two teams at the bottom of the Super League are relegated.
New Ranji format from 2008–09 season, the top two Plate teams join three teams each from the two groups in the Super League to play a knock-out from the quarter-final stage. The new format, thus, gives a relegated side realistic chance of winning the title.
The teams listed below are competing in the Ranji Trophy for the 2008–09 season. For a complete list of teams which have played in the competition at some point during its history, see Ranji Trophy - Historical Note.
 Super LeagueCurrent Season – Ranji Trophy 2008–09
| Group A || Group B |
 Plate League
| Group A || Group B |
 Tournament records
|Most wins||39||Mumbai (formerly Bombay)|
|Highest team score||944/6 decl.||Hyderabad v Andhra||1993–94 |
|Lowest team score||22||Southern Punjab v Northern India||1934–35 |
|Individual match records|
|Highest individual innings||443*||B. B. Nimbalkar||Maharashtra v Kathiawar||1948–49 |
|Best innings bowling||10/20||Premangsu Chatterjee||Bengal v Assam||1956–57 |
|Best match bowling||16/99||Anil Kumble||Karnataka v Kerala||1994–95 |
|Individual season records|
|Most runs in a season||1463||Vijay.R.Bharadwaj||Karnataka||1998–1999|
|Most centuries in a season||8||V. V. S. Laxman||Hyderabad||1999–2000|
|Most wickets in a season||64||Bishan Bedi||Delhi||1974–75|
|Individual career records|
|Most career runs||7623||Amarjit Kaypee||1980–2000|
|Most career centuries||31||Ajay Sharma||1984–2000|
|Highest career batting average||98.35||Vijay Merchant||1934–1951|
|Most career wickets||640†||Rajinder Goel||1958–1985|
 Past winners