BCCI should focus on territories within the country, says Avishek Dalmiya

While commending the BCCI for extending its support to the Cricket Board of Maldives, the Cricket Association of Bengal secretary also urged the board to look at its own territories, taking Lakshadweep Cricket Board's request for affiliation as an example.

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CAB Secretary Avishek Dalmiya took up the case of representation of Union Territories with the BCCI. (Representative Image )   -  Getty Images

As the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials gear up for their visit to Maldives to develop cricketing structure in the country, Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) secretary, Avishek Dalmiya has written to the officials of the Board requesting them to support the cricketers from Lakshadweep.

During his tenure as the chairman of the now disbanded New Area Development Committee (NADP), Dalmiya had, last year, received a request from the Lakshadweep Cricket Association seeking support from the BCCI. But there hasn't been any development so far.

On Saturday, Dalmiya wrote to the BCCI top brass and CEO Rahul Johri requesting them to look into the matter.

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"Through Media Reports, it has been learnt that the BCCI is keen to support Cricket Board of Maldives in their cricket related activities. While it is heartening to note that BCCI is standing beside its neighboring/regional countries in the development of the game, it should also focus on territories within the country," Dalmiya wrote in his letter -- a copy of which is with Sportstar.

"I thought it is my duty to remind you of the earlier letter sent by Lakshadweep Cricket Association, wherein they had sought BCCI intervention and support in order to ensure players from there are not deprived of availing opportunities in BCCI matches. I would request you to kindly look into their matter, if possible, and pursue at forums you deem appropriate so that options including development of facilities there are discussed," Dalmiya wrote.

"In all probability, as far as I understand they also want camps at other cities where players from there can attend. Further, you may consider offering Associate Membership to other union territories who are not affiliated members yet like Andaman and Nicobar islands, etc so that in future, possibilities of fielding a common side of Union Territories could be explored," Dalmiya wrote.

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Ranjeet Kalra, Advisor for Sports and Youth Affairs, government of Lakshadweep endorsed Dalmiya's concern and said: "It's been quite a while that we have been writing to BCCI for support and recognition. There is immense cricketing talent in Lakshadweep and those guys need to  be promoted and brought in the mainstream," Kalra said.

“We are very keen on development of the game and basic facilities at Lakshadweep. We want the BCCI to call us so that we can represent our case before them. The boys here are very passionate and they need an exposure to camps and training programmes.” Kalra added.

Last year, six new teams from northeast, Bihar, Uttarakhand and Puducherry were allowed to participate in all BCCI-affiliated tournaments.

Recently, the BCCI decided to send its General Manager (cricket operations), Saba Karim, and coach, Abhay Sharma, to Maldives to help the country in setting up cricketing structure.