The host cities are Bengaluru, Jaipur, Indore, Surat, Rajkot, and Chennai. All the players are requested to assemble to their respective centres within March 4, enter the bio-bubble and will need to serve a six-day quarantine as per the COVID-19 protocols.
A total of 37 teams have been divided into six groups. While each of the five elite groups contains six teams each, seven teams comprise the plate group. Defending champions Bengal have been placed in Elite Group B which also includes the like of Railways and Haryana.
The pre-quarterfinals are on March 27 while the four quarterfinal games are to be played on March 29 and 30. The semifinals are on April 1 while the final is on April 4. The venue for the knockouts are yet to be decided. It is understood that the teams who top five elite groups qualify directly for the quarterfinal stage with the next two best-placed teams in terms of points earned joining them.
The third best-placed side will play a pre-quarterfinal with the winner of plate group to book the final slot in the round of 8. The tournament was halted just before the knockouts the last year due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown meant the competition had to be cancelled midway.
Meanwhile, the Indian players will return to international action when they host South Africa in Lucknow from March 7 for five ODIs and three T20Is. It is understood that Indian teams for the South Africa series have been selected and the final squad will be announced soon by the BCCI. The South African players are expected to arrive in Lucknow on February 27.
Venues and Groups
Elite Group A (Surat): Jharkhand, Odisha, Hyderabad, Gujarat, Chattisgarh, Tripura
Elite Group B (Rajkot): Railways, Bengal, Haryana, Saurashtra, Assam, Uttarakhand
Elite Group C (Jaipur): Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Goa, Chandigarh
Elite Group D (Indore): Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Mumbai, Baroda, Punjab, Nagaland
Elite Group E (Chennai): Karnataka, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Vidarbha, Meghalaya
Plate Group (Bengaluru): Pondicherry, Jammu & Kashmir, Mizoram, Bihar, Manipur, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh