Mumbai, Feb 5 (IANS) The Irani Cup will come full circle when Mumbai, reigning Ranji Trophy champions, take on the Rest of India at the Wankhede Stadium here Feb 6-10.
The annual fixture was instituted in 1959-60 to commemorate the silver jubilee of the Ranji Trophy. The idea was to have the Ranji Trophy winners play the Rest of India, after the conclusion of the national championship.
The trophy to be awarded to the winning side was named after Z.R. Irani, who served the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as treasurer (1928-29 to 1945-46), vice-president (1963-64 and 1964-65) and president (1966-67 to 1968-69).
After the inaugural match in 1959-60 between Mumbai and the Rest of India, there was no game in 1960-61 and 1961-62. The encounter was revived in 1962-63. There was no match in 1964-65 and the match was then shifted to the beginning of the subsequent season.
Accordingly, Mumbai, the Ranji Trophy winners in 1964-65, played Rest of India at the start of the 1965-66 season. This practice continued till the 2011-12 season after which it was decided to return to the original format.
From now on, the Irani Cup game will be played annually between the same season's Ranji Trophy winners and the Rest of India, as was the case in 1959-60, 1962-63 and 1963-64.
Wednesday's match will be the 51st Irani Cup fixture and the second of the 2012-13 season. The Rest of India beat Rajasthan, the 2011-12 Ranji Trophy winners, in the previous game.
Rest of India have won the Irani Cup 24 times and have shared the trophy twice. They shared it with Mumbai in 1965-66, in what was the first Irani Cup game to be played at the start of the season. There was no game in 1979-80 but the Rest of India were declared joint winners with Delhi, the 1978-79 Ranji Trophy winners.
Mumbai have won the title 14 times.
The following are the other winners: Karnataka (Four times), Delhi (Twice [plus one joint title with the Rest of India in 1979-80, although the match was not played]), Railways (Twice), Haryana (Once), Hyderabad (Once) and Tamil Nadu (Once).