North East associations counter BCCI counsel

Reacting strongly to Puneet Bali’s remarks that north eastern states ‘cannot field even 11 players for a Ranji Trophy’, the associations requested the board to look into the matter.

Last week, the Supreme Court had pulled up the BCCI for its argument that the north eastern states ‘cannot field even 11 players for a Ranji Trophy’.   -  REPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE/GETTY IMAGES

The cricket associations of North East have written to the Board of Control for Cricket in India acting secretary, Amitabh Choudhary, requesting its advocate Puneet Bali to stay away from making unsavoury remarks.

Last week, the Supreme Court had pulled up the BCCI for its argument that the north eastern states ‘cannot field even 11 players for a Ranji Trophy’, and cannot have a ‘vote under the one state one vote’ recommendation by the Lodha Committee.

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Reacting strongly to the BCCI counsel’s remarks, Manipur Cricket Association has made it clear that this implies a ‘racial discriminatory tone and content’.

However, it is not just Manipur. Sportstar understands that four other states — Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Sikkim — have also written to Choudhary raising concern.

MCA secretary, Singam Priyananda Singh, said, “The BCCI counsel had mentioned in the court that there are not even eleven players in the North East. How can he say like this? We are members of the BCCI, and such things are unexpected,” Priyananda said.

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“In the court, it was also cited that 136 wide balls were bowled during a women’s match between Nagaland and Manipur. It was reasoned that our players are not good enough. This is quite demeaning for all the north eastern states,” the secretary stated.

He also cited that the Manipur team has done well earlier as an affiliate and associate member. “You cannot expect development in just one year. It is not possible. Even teams like Afghanistan and Bangladesh have had bad starts, but you have to give us time,” Priyananda said, adding: “We request the board to look into the matter seriously.”

Officials from other units have also confirmed to this publication that the BCCI counsel’s tone has not gone down well with them. “We have requested the secretary to look into the matter. One state one vote is something the north eastern states have been supporting. It is unfair to make some unsavoury comments,” a top official from one of the member states said.

While the technical committee has boosted their chances of playing Ranji Trophy this season, the BCCI appears to be a divided house as to how they will be inducted into the top league.