Six state associations have approached BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, asking him to reconsider the decision to disallow guest players from other states to play in their teams in junior cricket. The BCCI had discontinued the practice this season after using it for two years as they felt it was time for the associations to develop local talent without bringing in players from other states.
Until last season, in men’s cricket, the board had allowed three guest players at the under-23, under-19 and under-16 levels. In women cricket, they had allowed three guest players in under-19 and under-23 teams.
The associations have a counter-argument to the BCCI’s motive. “Ours is a two-year-old team and the board wants us to compete with teams that have 80 years of history. The board needs to re-look its new rule because we need experienced hands in dealing with match situations. Coaches can only guide from the outside but how can the players cope in the middle during crunch situations? We need some quality players who can guide the other players,” the spokesperson of the Cricket Association of Pondicherry (CAP) said.
The Indian Express understands that the state units of Pondicherry, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh have sent in their request while Sikkim Cricket Association will be sending their official request after an Apex Council meeting on Monday. The board had granted full membership to nine new teams two years ago after a Supreme Court order.
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CAP’s under-23 team has qualified for the Elite Group of the CK Nayudu Trophy after entering the quarterfinals last season. However, the BCCI’s rationale is that the presence of players from other states can hinder growth at junior level.
“At the junior age, it’s more important to develop junior cricketers. These state associations now receive subsidies to build infrastructure and groom cricketers,” a BCCI official told this newspaper. “We felt two years is a good enough time to develop their teams. In the North-East, there were few teams which were already playing cricket before they were given full affiliation. It’s time they start building their own teams.”
In a circular sent to all state associations last week, the board’s general manager (cricket operations) Saba Karim had informed them of the decision. “No guest players will be allowed for age-group team. Guest players are only permissible in Senior Men and Senior Women’s squad,” the communication said.
The decision has not gone down well with the new teams that were formed two years ago following the Lodha Committee’s recommendations. Some state associations have spoken to Ganguly, who has assured them that he will look into the matter.