A day after Mumbai Cricket Association raised its objection regarding the scheduling of the domestic calender, Kerala Cricket Association on Wednesday turned the heat on GM (Cricket Operations) Saba Karim, asking him to change the scheduling of National U-16 Championship for the Vijay Merchant Trophy.
Karim has played a major role in finalising the domestic fixture and most of the suggestions by the technical committee headed by former India captain Sourav Ganguly on integration of northeastern states, has been overlooked.
A lot of technical committee members have been questioning Karim’s taking decisions unilaterally. In a departure from previous years, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has decided to advance the dates of the Vijay Merchant Trophy (national U-16 boys tournament) by two months from its usual December start. This year, it is scheduled to start on October 3.
Kerala CA secretary Sreejith V Nair on Wednesday categorically stated that it will be difficult to conduct trials of U-16 boys in monsoon season and get a team ready for the October 3 start. “In the past this age-group tournament was always scheduled to start from the 1st week of December. The revamped BCCI domestic calendar has advanced the tournament by almost two months. There was no indication whatsoever of such a major advancing of the dates,” Nair wrote in a letter to Karim.
“Not foreseeing this, we are yet to start the process of selecting our under-16 state team since priority was given to other senior teams. We are seriously concerned in getting the team ready since there is very little to time now, especially in view of the monsoon season which will extend up to last week of August,” he further wrote.
According to the secretary, the latest they can start their trials is September 3 and there will be only a month to get young school boys tournament-ready, which might not be ideal. “The earliest we can start our selections and pre-season preparation would be from 2nd week of September and require at least two months to get the team ready for the competition. We are sure this would be the case with many of the state teams from the south and west zones.”
“We would like to request you to review the fixtures for Vijay Merchant trophy and consider re-scheduling the same to start from mid-November for this season at least,” Nair said, requesting for a change of dates.
Furious with the turn of events, a senior BCCI official questioned the kind of whimsical decisions taken by the paid professionals. “If you know that most of the Indian states are hit by monsoons, then what was the logic of having the junior tournaments first. The senior teams don’t need trials. But for juniors, every state needs to follow a transparent selection process since it’s age-group cricket. It takes time and one should have realised that. Normally, the U-16 always starts last as fresh set of boys enter the competitive arena,” the official said.
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