India U-19 team captain under BCCI scanner

Anuj Rawat played an unsanctioned Twenty20 league in Mauritius last year without seeking permission from the Board.

Representative Image: Anuj Rawat has played three first-class matches for Delhi. Photo: Getty Images

Anuj Rawat, a wicketkeeper-batsman from Delhi and captain of India’s U-19 team, is under the scanner for having played an unsanctioned Twenty20 league in Mauritius in June, 2017.

A No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is necessary to apply for a visa for playing cricket leagues in countries like the U.K. and Bangladesh. However, Indian nationals do not need a visa for Mauritius if the intended stay is for not more than 60 days.

Cricketers from India, therefore, could bypass the BCCI and play in the tournament, which featured cricketers of questionable reputation, and a host of participants from Pakistan. It is learnt that Manjot Kalra, a star of the U-19 World Cup, had sought permission to play the league, but was denied by the BCCI.

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Rawat, however, seems not to have taken permission from the BCCI before jumping in. A YouTube video of the tournament has emerged and Rawat is seen playing in a match between Flac Royals and Quatre Borne. Ex-England international Owais Shah and former Pakistan cricketer Hasan Raza, who had featured in a recent sting operation conducted by Al Jazeera, were members of Rawat’s opposition team.

Some lesser-known first-class players, such as Asad Pathan, also played in the league.

‘Very unfortunate’

Acting BCCI secretary Amitabh Chaudhary called it “very unfortunate.” He said, “The age group players are educated by BCCI at the national level. This is very unfortunate if junior players have gone ahead and played unsanctioned tournament. This needs to be looked into seriously,” Choudhary told PTI.

Saba Karim, General Manager (Cricket Operations), BCCI, wasn’t aware of the developments. He said, “For any tournament outside India, the players need to seek NOC from [the] BCCI. I am not aware whether [Rawat] sought permission or not. You could check with [Delhi and Districts Cricket Association].”

Rawat hadn’t taken any permission from the DDCA, an official from the State association confirmed.

Rawat made his first-class debut in 2017, and has scored 178 runs in three matches with two half-centuries. He couldn’t make it to the U-19 World Cup squad in New Zealand due to poor show in the lead-up tournaments.

However, he was rewarded with captaincy and led the the team to a 2-0 victory in the Youth Test series in Sri Lanka last month.

Rawat, on his part, can still claim that he was unaware of the rules as of June, 2017, and that he wasn’t a part of the national U-19 camp. However, it appears that the BCCI, in all likelihood, will ask him a few tough questions about flouting the rules of the parent body.

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