Manjot Kalra, who scored a hundred in the final of the previous edition of U-19 World Cup, has been suspended by outgoing Delhi and District Cricket Association Ombudsman for a year from playing Ranji Trophy for an alleged age fraud during his U-16 and U-19 days.
However, for the same offence, Delhi senior team vice-captain Nitish Rana has been let off for the time being with more documents being sought to prove that he fudged his age at the junior level.
Pacer Shivam Mavi’s case has been referred to the Board of Control for Cricket in India since he now represents Uttar Pradesh in senior cricket. The outgoing Ombudsman Justice (Retired) Badr Durrez Ahmed passed an order on his final day, preventing Kalra from playing age-group cricket for two years, but importantly, denying him a chance to play Ranji Trophy for this season.
Kalra, whose age as per BCCI records is 20 years 351 days, last week played for Delhi U-23 against Bengal and scored 80. He was in line to replace senior opener Shikhar Dhawan in the Ranji squad but as it now stands, he will not play any further.
“I find it surprising that Manjot Kalra has been punished for the same offence that Nitish Rana is also allegedly guilty of. We couldn’t pick Manjot as it was Ombudsman’s order. He passed it at 11:30 pm at night, a day before he relinquished office. Now that’s a bit bizarre,” DDCA general secretary Vinod Tihara was quoted as saying PTI.
In case of Rana, former Ombudsman has asked DDCA to refer to his school DAV Centenary, Narela and seek specific birth-certificate related documents before the next hearing. But, it remains to be seen if new appointee Justice Deepak Verma will conduct fresh enquiry when the outgoing Ombudsman is not present.
Can Kalra be stopped from playing senior level cricket for age-fraud? “He has been prevented from playing club matches also. Now his parents will have to appeal for a change of order in front of new Ombudsman. Till then, DDCA can’t pick him for the Ranji Trophy. games We are helpless,” Tihara said.
For the Punjab game in Mohali, selectors have picked right-handed middle-order batsman Vaibhav Kandpal and seam bowling all-rounder Siddhant Sharma in the squad of fifteen in place of senior players Dhawan and Ishant Sharma.