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Not cricket: Varsities ban ICL players

cricket Updated: Mar 18, 2008 18:47 IST
Subhash Rajta
Subhash Rajta
Hindustan Times
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THE REPERCUSSIONS of the fight between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Indian Cricket League (ICL) are being felt in places you would never have imagined — colleges and universities.

Even though the BCCI, or for that matter the ICL, has nothing to do with the sport at that level, a couple of universities have somehow made themselves party to the tussle, siding with the BCCI and disallowing ICL players from participating in Inter-college and Inter varsity tournaments.

What is surprising is that this has been done despite there being no directive in this regard from the Association of Indian Universities (AIU). “We have no policy as such on the matter. We would rather be unconcerned about whether the player is playing in ICL or elsewhere, as long as he fulfils the eligibility conditions,” said AIU secretary sports Gurdeep Singh. His stance notwithstanding, the fact is that a Mumbai boy Nikhil Mandle, a second-year student of Ruparel College, was thrown out from an Inter-college match when the rival college, H.R. College objected to his participation, saying he had signed up with the ICL. In another instance, three ICL players were not allowed to give inter-varsity trials for Punjab University.

Interestingly, the college and the university, unlike in Nikhil’s case, allowed them to play inter-college matches. “We were told that since Nikhil had signed up with the ICL, he couldn’t play the inter-college tournament. We withdrew Nikhil, but lodged a protest with the university. Now as per university rules, the result of the protest has to come within a month, but it’s been over a month-and-a-half month now, and the matter is still pending with the university,” said a sports official from Ruparel College.

“But now I have heard that charge against Nikhl on paper is that he is an employee of the ICL (employees aren’t eligible for inter-college tournaments),” said the official.

That can’t be the case as players with the ICL are on contract, and if somehow they are deemed employees, will players joining the Indian Premier League (IPL) be treated in the same way and also banned?

Interestingly, the Punjab University selector has an altogether different theory for not allowing the ICL players take the Inter-varsity trials. “Actually, the teams for Vizzy Trophy, a tournament funded by the board, are picked up from the inter-university tournament.

So as the players wouldn’t be eligible (because of the BCCI ban), we decided not to pick them even for Inter-varsity tournaments.” The explanation sounds strange, for how can someone stop players from appearing in trials if they fulfil the eligibility conditions for a particular tournament?

Anyway, the real question for everyone associated with Indian cricket in one way or the other is: Isn’t all this going a bit too far? After universities and colleges, will inter-school tournaments also be hit?