A group of teenagers sat crestfallen outside the beautiful Dharamsala cricket stadium. After travelling overnight from Delhi in a crowded bus and braving the early morning chill, they were told they could not participate in the bowling trials being conducted by the BCCI.
The youngsters, taken aback, learnt that only the residents of Himachal Pradesh were eligible for the trials. Luckily for them, better sense prevailed and they were later allowed to participate. The change in decision ensured that about 100 cricketers from outside Himachal Pradesh (Delhi, Punjab and Haryana) didn't go back heartbroken, without getting a chance to strut their stuff.
Nevertheless, the confusion in the first place about the eligibility criteria shows the BCCI in a poor light. How could there not be a complete clarity when hundreds are expected to reach the venue from far off places for the trials?
While Sandeep Patil, overseeing the trials along with Karsan Ghavri and Yoginder Puri, refused to comment and clear the air, BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale pointed out that anyone from any part of the country, provided he's between 17-22 years of age and hasn't played in any of the BCCI tournaments, can take part in the trials. "It will be the same at other venues as well where the trials will be held after Dharamsala," he said.
While the outsiders were happy over finally getting a chance, a few of them grumbled why the participants were divided into two groups - those from Himachal and outsiders. "When it's an open trial and everyone can participate, what's the need to divide the participants into two groups," they asked?
At the end of an eventful day, around 30 players were shortlisted from a total of 500 for the final round on Sunday.