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Maharashtra seek rule changes

india Updated: Nov 21, 2007 19:59 IST
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With fast bowler Munaf Patel being included in India's squad for first Test against Pakistan, his state team has sought the Indian board to allow them replace him with another professional.

Though Munaf hails from Gujarat, he represents Maharashtra in the Ranji Trophy since 2005 as one of the three professionals the board allows a team to have.

Maharashtra have also asked the Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI) that each team be allowed to have three professionals in the playing eleven.

Munaf Patel on Tuesday was asked to join the Indian team, for the Test starting in New Delhi from Thursday, after injuries to Rudra Pratap Singh and S Sreesanth.

And this, Maharashtra claim, has affected their team's balance.

"Munaf's selection to Indian team has displaced the whole balance of our team," Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) president Ajay Shirke told the Hindustan Times on Tuesday.

"Moreover, since four of our key players have joined the ICL (Indian Cricket League) and the Under-19 and Under-22 matches are also on simultaneously, we hardly have players to choose from.

"So, we have requested the board to allow us replace Munaf with another professional."

Shirke demanded that the rule, which allows maximum of three professionals to be signed by a state association for a season, to be amended.

"Instead of allowing three professionals on the roster, they should allow three to be in the playing eleven," Shirke said.

In response, the BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said the proposal could be considered next year.

"The rules have been agreed to by all the affiliated units before the start of the season, so nothing can be done this season," Shah said. "We may discuss it before the next season starts."

This is not the first time MCA, which is known to be one of the few professionally run state associations with contracted players, has taken on the BCCI.

While Munaf and Dheeraj Jadhav were left to choose between a Ranji Trophy match and a warm-up match against visiting Sri Lankans in November 2005, director of cricket Chandrakant Pandit was not released to coach India A against visiting South Africa A in September.

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