In bid to revive college cricket, national selectors to watch University final
In a bid to revive college and university cricket, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will have its national selectors present at the inter-university tournament final this season. It is one of the many moves which the Board has planned to improve the domestic cricket set-up.
After having played the Ranji Trophy league phase on home and away basis, the BCCI will now have the knock-out matches also on home and away format, instead of neutral venues, revealed the BCCI’s new General Manager, Operations, Saba Karim. The former India wicket-keeper batsman also shared that “the way to go forward is to look at having central contracts for your state players, men and women both. To give the some kind of assurance, some kind of looking at cricket as a feasible career.”
And, after getting the inputs from the state team captains and coaches at the BCCI conclave held on Monday, the BCCI is most worried about the slipping standard of umpiring. Saba Karim, who heads the domestic cricket set-up now, accepted it is one of the challenges he faces.
The thought behind the focus on the college and university cricket, Saba revealed is to increase the talent pool. It has been a largely untapped channel. It used to be a supply line for the Indian team till the 1980s with players who did well in the inter-university cricket tournament, getting a look-in at the first-class level. Somehow, it lost its appeal over the years.
“We will have the national selectors present for the match, to look at the talent. The final will be telecast live from Bhubaneswar; it’s the first time BCCI has taken this initiative. We want to get more into University cricket so that we can get more talent,” said Saba Karim.
“It will work both ways: We want our cricketers to go to good colleges and get good education and it will help in the development of college cricket. This is another platform, as much talent can come through we will be very happy.
“So there are two pathways now to reach your ambition. Otherwise there was only one way, you play the age group tournaments and then the first-class level and you reached the top. Now we are trying to create another pathway that can help these youngsters to reach the top.”
As for the slipping standards of umpiring, Saba Karim accepted it is one of the challenges BCCI faces.
“There were some concerns about umpiring, which shall be addressed shortly.”
“We have strong examination and review structure for the umpires, but obviously there is a lot of work to be done. But, in the end you need to get good quality people into umpiring, that’s why we encourage first-class cricketers to come in.”
Asked why there were so many complaints against the level of umpiring?
“It is a case of perception, there are some who feel umpiring has improved, some who feel umpiring has gone down.
“You will be surprised to know that this year more and more Indian umpires will get an opportunity to officiate in IPL. That is based on the evaluation that was done on IPL of last season.”