BCCI allows associate members to field individual teams

North-east states and Bihar find mention in the Board’s domestic calendar; associations call it a ‘very positive step’.

The development comes after the Committee of Administrators assured the north-eastern states it would take initiative to bring their cricket to the forefront.   -  Special Arrangement

India’s north-eastern states played as a combined unit in the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s junior-level tournaments in the past two seasons. But on Friday, they were cleared to participate as individual entities in the junior-level domestic season.

Keeping its word, the Board has officially included a specific ‘North East’ zone in the domestic calendar for this year’s U-16 Vinoo Mankad Trophy and U-23 CK Nayudu Trophy. The women cricketers will also be allowed to participate in the U-19 League.

Interestingly, this zone will not only see the five north-east states in action as cricketers from Bihar have also been brought back into the mainstream. The Board has sent the official tournament fixtures (a copy of which is in possession with Sportstar) — beginning from the first week of November — to the North East state units and to the Bihar Cricket Association, asking them to start preparing for the season.

This comes after the Committee of Administrators (CoA) assured the north-east states it would take initiative to bring their cricket to the forefront. After being snubbed for the Ranji Trophy, six north-east states — Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Nagaland — had written to the CoA asking to field individual teams. CoA’s Vinod Rai had met the north-east cricket officials in New Delhi on September 8 and asked BCCI GM (Game Development), Prof. Ratnakar Shetty to ensure that things got back in track.

‘Big thing for our cricket’

While the five states will be able to field the players, a technical glitch has forced Mizoram stay out of the process for the moment. “We have been informed about the scheduling, and this is definitely a big thing for our cricket,” Naba Bhattacharjee, secretary of Meghalaya Cricket Association, told Sportstar.

CHANGE IN JUNIOR, WOMEN'S SCHEDULE

As per the new schedule, the Under-19 Women’s T20 tournament which was to be held from February 1-6 (League), and February 11-17 (Super League) has been omitted.

They have included Women’s U-19 League (November 1-9 ) for NE States and Bihar in Dhanbad; Inter-State Women’s U-19 one-dayers and Super League (November 16-30) in Andhra Pradesh; Senior Women T20 Challenger Trophy (February 1-4), the venue for which is yet to be announced.

The list also has Women’s U-19 inter-zonal two-day matches from February 5-18 in Agartala; Women’s U-23 T20 League from March 17-23 and Super League from March 27-April 2.

In junior men’s cricket, the additions will be U-23 one-day tournament for NE and Bihar in Ranchi; U-23 one-day tournament Kanpur; Vijay Merchant Trophy (U-16) for NE States and Bihar in Shillong; while West Zone will host the all-India knock-out draw of Vijay Merchant Trophy.

-PTI


The six states have already started conducting selection trials for the tournaments. “The process has already started and the final stage will begin once the festivities are over. We will leave no stone unturned to make this a success,” Bhattacharjee, who is also the convenor of BCCI’s North East Cricket Development Committee, said,

He added: “Hopefully Mizoram shall be included soon once the glitch is addressed.”

‘Positive step’

Bihar Cricket Association, which was affiliated by the BCCI last year, will return to the fold as an individual unit after almost thirteen years. “We see it as a very positive step. This will definitely motivate our cricketers,” Bihar Cricket Association honorary secretary, Ravi Shankar Prasad Singh, told Sportstar.

Singh was hopeful the development will pave the way for Ranji Trophy participation in the years to come.

Lack of funds, will however, force the States to appoint local coaches at the moment. But the officials are hopeful of good result. After years of snub, the good times are finally here for cricketers of North East and Bihar.

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