Till last year, the North Eastern states couldn’t have imagined that they would have a say in the power equations of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Six months from now, they will be equal stakeholders in Indian cricket with the Supreme Court ordering voting rights for every state.
Welcoming the verdict, Meghalaya Cricket Association secretary, Naba Bhattacharjee, who is also co-convenor of the North East Cricket Development Committee, and member of the BCCI’s New Area Development Programme, said it was long due. “It is a shot in the arm for the North East state associations. Unless we have a say in the management it is very difficult to have your voice heard. Now, hopefully, we will be in the decision-making body. As pointed out by the Supreme Court, every state association should have equal opportunity. This is the way in all other sports association and federations.”
Except Meghalaya and Nagaland, cricket infrastructure is almost non-existent in the North East. Bhattacharjee said: “The process has already been started (of developing the game) during the tenure of the present BCCI committee. They have started a number of initiatives and we are happy that it will be taken forward now.”
Nagaland Cricket Association secretary, Abu Metha, said if the Lodha panel recommendations were implemented, it would help bring the North East closer to mainstream India through cricket. “Our youngsters want to be a part of the religion in India that is cricket,” said Metha.
He was honest that they were not yet ready to play first-class cricket. “We are not ready for first-class cricket but at least we will get equal treatment as members of the Indian union. The door has been opened and our youngsters can dream that in future they can also play for the Indian team.”
Bhattacharjee said development would boil down to implementation. “We will try and put our best foot forward. It is a responsibility bestowed upon us and we will try and deliver. We have to be realistic, responsible and work hard.”