BCCI cancels registration of eight Puducherry players

Following opposition from other states, the BCCI has revoked its previous order of allowing Puducherry to field players who have been in the Union Territory since 2018.

The players in question are part of the senior team taking part in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the parent body came down heavily after multiple complaints were made against Puducherry for flouting norms.   -  AFP

Facing a backlash from the other state associations, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has revoked the special allowance granted to Puducherry concerning ‘local’ players.

One of the nine teams to feature in the first-class set-up this season, BCCI had relaxed the rules, which defined who a local player is, for Puducherry keeping in mind the challenge the Union Territory faced in terms of recruiting local talent.

As per the BCCI rule, any player who has a birth certificate from a particular state or is an employee of an organisation in the jurisdiction of that state or a student of a recognised institute in the state since August 2017, can be considered eligible as a local player. But the rules were relaxed for the Cricket Association of Puducherry as it was inducted as an associate member of the BCCI only last month.

“Initially, the Board told us that we could only include players who are in the state since 2017. But that was impossible for us as we had just been recognized by the BCCI. We requested the Board to allow us players who have been residing here since August 2018. They agreed,” a senior official at the Cricket Association of Puducherry (CAP), told this publication on Thursday.

Accordingly, the players — who joined colleges in Puducherry this year — became eligible to appear as local players.

BCCI’s GM, Cricket Operations, Syed Saba Karim confirmed to Sportstar that the Board had ‘indeed’ given a relaxation to the CAP, following requests from the association. But now with other state bodies opposing the move, the previous order has been revoked. “The decision was that for Puducherry, those players will qualify as locals if they show some proof of residence or employment or education as on August 2018, even if you are not born in Puducherry. Now, that decision has been revoked,” Karim said.

Indicating that CAP did not do any wrong, Karim also clarified that he has written to the Puducherry association asking it to refer to the original clause and follow it with immediate effect. “The rule for other states was that if you are born in the state, to qualify as a local player, you need to show that you have been a resident of the state for the past one year, or prove of employment from September 2017. Now, that rule stands even for Puduchererry and the earlier one is revoked,” Karim said.

The CAP official also admitted that on Thursday morning, they have agreed to follow BCCI’s new orders and have withdrawn eight players — ST Xavier, Nikhilesh Surendran, Iqlas N, Abdul Safar VS, Yash Jadhav, Sagar Trivedi, Ashith Rajiv and Shashank Singh. The CAP has already sent eight local players to join the team in Vadodara.

“The Board requested us if we could go back to the old order after many associations complained and we agreed. There is no question of corruption and we are certainly not at fault here,” he said.

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