In its bid to overhaul the structure of domestic cricket, the Board Of Control For Cricket In India approved the recommendations of the Special Committee on the revision of the Ranji Trophy format, under which 27 teams will be divided into three groups of nine sides each.
The decisions were taken by the BCCI's Working Committee meeting which met in New Delhi.
The top three teams from Group A, B and C will qualify for the knockout stage.
The inter-state tournament for the under-22s will be referred to as the 'A' teams tournament, and will feature cricketers in the under-25 age-group.
It was also decided that the India 'A' team will tour New Zealand in September-October.
The Board also allowed Chhattisgarh to participate in the under-16 inter-state tournament (Plate Group).
Besides, the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy will feature the winners of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, and two teams would be picked by the All-India Senior Selection Committee.
The technical committee headed by Sourav Ganguly and the special committee comprising of another former captain Anil Kumble, among others, had recommended some sweeping changes in the domestic cricket structure on June 12.