Six states from north eastern India, who are supposed to become full members of the BCCI as per Lodha Committee recommendation, will be appealing to the Committee of Administrators to allow them to play as a combined unit in Ranji Trophy from this season.
The convenor of the North-East state cricket association Naba Bhattacharya informed that their representatives are meeting the COA in the capital on September 8.
The six states that want to field a combined team for the senior national championship are Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Sikkim.
The two other North Eastern states - Assam and Tripura - have been long-standing voting members and are a part of the Ranji Trophy for a long time.
“We were really surprised to find that BCCI has chalked up the Ranji schedule and North Eastern states have once again been ignored despite Lodha Committee’s ‘one-state one-vote’ diktat. We are not saying that we want to play as individual states. But there should be a start somewhere,” Bhattacharya was quoted as saying.
“The NE cricket association representatives will be meeting the COA and we will propose that a combined team be fielded this year. We have good enough players in each state to have a pool of 20 players from which we can select the NE team. Also in the Vijay Merchant Trophy (U-16) and Cooch Behar Trophy (U-19), we have been playing as combined NE team. We want to now play as individual states,” he further added.
‘If they can have 28 teams, why can’t they include us’
When asked that the itinerary for the Ranji Trophy is already drawn and change of fixture could lead to a logistical nightmare, the Meghalaya CA official said: “There is still a month left. If they can have 28 teams, why can’t they include us and Bihar and make it a 30-team affair and make changes accordingly.”
There is a school of thought in the BCCI that if Duleep Trophy, despite being scrapped originally, can be sandwiched after COA intervention, one can seriously look at the demand from the North Eastern states that have been perennially ignored by the BCCI brass since time immemorial.
Bhattacharya, who was a part of the special committee formed by the BCCI to study gamut of difficulties faced in implementation of Lodha Reforms, said: “You know Shillong hosted a first-class match way back in 1948 before a lot of full members of BCCI came into existence.
“Also we have got facilities in Dimapur (Arunachal Pradesh). If it’s a question of playing home matches, we have A grade centres with other corresponding facilities,” Bhattacharya signed off.