The Vijay Hazare Trophy is an annual List A cricket tournament of India. The tournament was first held in 2002-03 and was named in honor of the great 20th century cricketer Vijay Hazare. He was the first to lead the Indian side to a test match win apart from being an extravagant test cricketer.
The tournament has seen a range of format changes since its inception and continues to be one of the leading domestic tournaments of India.
Initially, the event was held as a competition between different zones. Each zone declared a winner, but there was no competition between these winners. Ultimately, there was no single winner of the tournament.
The first format curated to decide an eventual winner was in the form of an inter-zonal event. 28 teams were a part of five zones. The winner of each group and the best performing runner-up across all groups directly qualify for the quarterfinals. The remainder of the runner-up teams face each other in pre-quarters. The winners of these two pre-quarters join the other six teams in the quarterfinals.
In the 2015 season, instead of five zones, the tournament had four zones, each consisting of seven teams.
The tournament adopted a format resembling that of the Ranji trophy starting in 2018. The teams were now divided into three elite and one plate group. The two elite groups and the plate groups had 9 teams each. A third elite group consisted of 10 teams. The grouping of these teams was based on the average points of each team in the previous three seasons.
Interestingly, in the last decade, the format in which the Vijay Hazare has been played in terms of grouping the teams has varied almost every season. Tamil Nadu has been the most successful side, winning five trophies. Yashpal Singh holds the record for scoring the most runs in the tournament’s history as of 2023.