Guwahati, Aug. 23: NF Railway narrowly survived a move by the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) to bar them from participation in the junior age groups inter-district cricket tournaments in the state after the district unit pleaded with the apex state body to reconsider it.
A press release, signed by assistant secretary Sanjib Handique regarding last evening’s meeting of the ACA with its affiliated district units secretaries here, did not mention the move. However, ACA sources said the matter of barring NF Railway from participating in the under-16 and under-17 inter-districts was discussed in the meeting but resolved to maintain status quo on the basis of the NF Railway Sports Association’s plea.
The meeting last evening, attended by secretaries of 28 affiliated districts, including NFRSA general secretary P.K. Singh, was presided over by ACA president Gautam Roy.
The move was an apparent fallout of a few former state players, who are employees with the NF Railway, offending the ACA by alleging incompetence of the office-bearers in the state body before a section of the media.
“P.K. Singh has assured the ACA that all the players have been directed not to speak unauthorised before the media but to take up their grievances with the NFRSA or the ACA. He also pleaded that the young players should not be deprived of an opportunity to compete at the state level. Though the BCCI rules do not permit establishments like NF Railway to field teams in the junior age groups because the players are not employees with them, we agreed to continue with the existing system of allowing them participate in the under-16 and under-17 inter-districts,” ACA secretary Bikash Baruah said.
He added that Singh had read out the district unit’s directive to the players in the ACA meeting.
“If their officials or employees continue with similar misdemeanours, our governing body will take a call on the association’s future in the state-level junior meets and other aspects,” added Baruah.
Some of affiliated district units of the ACA have been lobbying hard for last few years to derecognise NF Railway as a district unit in the juniors on the ground that the players concerned are not their employees.
The players include former Ranji players Rajesh Borah, Syed Zakaria Zuffri and Tilak Das, who are accused of alleging that the state lacked coaches and support staff in television shows.
The meeting reiterated that ACA has 31 National Cricket Academy qualified coaches and 12 BCCI and NCA recognised support staff at its disposal.
The meeting decided to constitute a four-member fact-finding team to probe the disgruntlement among the former players concerned.
Refusing to name the members of the fact-finding team, Baruah said: “It is our internal matter and the members do not want to be named publicly because one of them has claimed to have received a call from a mediaperson before the meeting last evening pressing him for advocacy for one of the three former players concerned.”