The NKP Salve Challenger Trophy can rightly be called the premier one day tournament in India’s domestic cricket. It is known commonly as the Challenger Trophy and was started during the 1994-95 season. The primary purpose behind organizing the tournament was to give the skilled cricketers of India one more platform to show their capabilities and also to provide the younger and promising players an opportunity to mix with the very best that India had to offer. The tournament is traditionally played during October, right before the Ranji Trophy, the premier cricketing tournament in India, starts.
The Challenger Trophy was renamed as NKP Salve Challenger Trophy during the 1998-99 season in honor of NKP Salve, an erstwhile President of the BCCI. Incidentally, Salve was the person responsible for getting India and Pakistan the right to host the 1987 World Cup, an event that is almost as important as India winning the 1983 World Cup. If the latter helped the game become popular in India, the earlier caused a massive shift in power as the Holy Grail of international cricket shifted from its traditional home in the Old Blighty to new climes and took its first steps towards becoming a global game. Since its inception, this tournament has been an annual fixture in India’s cricketing calendar with the sole exception being 2002-03.
The tournament is normally contested between 3 teams comprising the best players in India – India Seniors, India A and India B. Normally, the Seniors team was made up of the players who were currently playing for the national team while the remaining two teams comprised a smattering of national players and the best in regional talent. However, the team composition has undergone some changes in recent years with selectors focusing on creation of teams with equal merit and thus distributing the India players across the three teams.
The team names have changed as well – the India Seniors are now known as India Blue, while the India A team is referred to as India Red and India B is known is India Green. India Seniors have won the tournament the maximum times till date with 7 victories and from the 2006-07 season have dominated as the India Blue winning the tournament 3 times.