J&K’s Ranji Trophy conundrum

Caught in an imbroglio, the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association is yet to announce its team for the Ranji Trophy.

Parvez Rasool has been one of the major players for Jammu and Kashmir.   -  Nissar Ahmad

In the next few days, the Indian domestic cricket circuit would once again be abuzz with the Ranji Trophy. As the country’s premier tournament begins from Friday all the teams are busy giving finishing touches to their preparations.

But for Jammu and Kashmir, the story is a bit different. Caught in an imbroglio, the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) is yet to announce its team for the Ranji Trophy.

Even though the players are in the camp in Srinagar, the association says that it will announce the team in a day or two, 'once the selection trials are over.' “We have not finalised the team yet. The selection trials are going on for U-19, U-23 cricketers. Once that gets over, the team will be announced,” JKCA secretary Iqbal Shah toldSportstar.

The secretary hoped that the team will be announced before the team leaves for Jaipur on Wednesday for its season opener against Rajasthan.

Till the team is announced, the players are preparing under the watchful eyes of the experienced Mithun Manhas, who joined the side as a coach-cum-captain in 2015.

There is, however, a bit of confusion over Manhas’ designation this time. While Shah has made it clear that Manhas will “only remain the coach” this time around, Manhas says "it will remain what it was before."

“My role is the same what it was for the last few seasons,” Manhas told Sportstar. So, would he be playing a few matches as well? “We will see to it. That is yet to be decided,” is how he reacted when asked about his profile.

But isn’t time running out for the side?

“The preparation has not been up to the mark. We can only give our best,” Manhas said, “As far as the players are concerned, the camp is on. Earlier, the players from Jammu and Kashmir were training in their respective centres. Now, all the players are in Srinagar. That’s all I can say.”

The JKCA had earlier threatened to pull out of the Ranji Trophy, alleging that the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) hasn’t released money. In return, the CoA categorically told the JKCA officials not to mislead the people.

And now, with just a few days left for the tournament to begin, things still look pretty hassled. 

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