Taking into consideration the craze for baseball among new players despite scanty infrastructure, coaches want the game to be included in gradation system in Punjab on the pattern of its neighbouring states.
A district-level baseball championship from August 5-8 was to be organised in the city under the aegis of the Ludhiana district education department, but it was cancelled owing to “absence of gradation and participation of less than 10 teams” in the tournament.
However, trials were conducted for the selection of team for higher-level competitions. When contacted, assistant education officer (sports), Ajitpal Singh told Hindustan Times: “In the absence of gradation to baseball, thus, we had decided if less than 10 teams turned up for the tournament, we would cancel the tournament, and only trials would be conducted.”
A teacher at a city school on condition of anonymity, said, “The craze for the game is high among new players. However, it can see downfall if the government does provide gradation to the baseball, which is an international game.
“We are unhappy that the baseball championship was not conducted under district-level games, and only trials were held. According to the schedule, the baseball matches were to be conducted at Teja Singh Sutantar Memorial Senior Secondary School during district level games.”
Amanjot Kaur Bains, who recently won the best player award in the North Zone Baseball Tournament, held in Srinagar, said, “I started this game after completing school studies. Now I am playing from Khalsa College for Women. The game should be promoted at school-level and if the game gets gradation then more players will join the game.”
Harbir Singh, a coach, said, “I had visited the US around two years ago, where the game is being played at the school level. The popularity of the game is also increasing in our city. Despite non-availability of facilities, several city schools have their baseball teams. If the game gets gradation, then players can easily get jobs. They will be motivated more.”
Harish Kumar, secretary of the Punjab Baseball Association, said, “We are organising camps time to time. The game can get gradation only after fulfilling the required conditions. I hope it will get gradation shortly.”