The Indian cricket board’s (BCCI) technical committee headed by Sourav Ganguly had recommended a complete overhaul of domestic cricket on Tuesday, but the suggestion to do away with under-22 cricket has met with fierce opposition. A section of under-22 coaches have questioned the logic of turning it essentially into an under-25 side.
“I do not see how this change will help players and I don’t know the reason for changing it,” said Saurashtra U-22 coach Rajendra Shah.
A BCCI release read: “Each under-22 side would now be called the ‘A’ team of that association. Players below 25 years of age (as on September 1 of the year in which the season starts) will be eligible to be a part of the team. Every team will be allowed to field three Ranji Trophy players (those who have figured in the playing XI in the Ranji Trophy in the current season or the preceding season) in the playing eleven.
Mumbai under-22 coach Vilas Godbole expressed concern over the path the under-19 cricketers would now be forced to take. “The difference between under-19 and under-25 is too much. A lot of the spots will be taken up by players who are above 22, then what happens to those under-19 players who are good enough for under-22?” wondered Godbole.
Coach Shah claimed that the move might only help to provide some players a longer stint in professional cricket. “Players who cannot make it to the Ranji team or the national team by 25 will get to play for the ‘A’ team. But if they have not made it to the higher levels by then, it is unlikely they will do so in the future.”
Gujarat U-22 coach Tejas Varsani too had a point to make. “Even if they have the U-25 cricket, they should not do away with U-22,” said Varsani, adding: “It is important for the transition of young players into Ranji teams.”