Calcutta: A day after the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), at its working committee meeting, decided to do away with its cricket development committee, Arun Lal, one of its high-profile members, was livid at the association’s lack of planning and failure to implement the recommendations.
On Friday, the CAB decided to form a coaching committee with former India captain Sourav Ganguly at its helm. While the impression created by the CAB is that non-availability of all the members together was an issue for its scrapping, the fact is that several proposals by the committee has been gathering dust.
“The cricket development committee was a policy-making body for the progress of Bengal cricket… It was not concerned with the day-to-day affairs and didn’t need to meet every week.
“It was basically aimed at forming a broad policy which would give a direction to the game. But sadly, nothing has been done to implement the radical suggestions given by the committee,” Lal told The Telegraph on Saturday.
CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya, for his part, maintained that the development committee could be reconstituted in the future. Besides Lal, the committee comprised Sourav (chairman), Ashok Malhotra and Pronab Roy.
“The CAB has done nothing to ensure that the committee’s recommendations were taken forward. I’m just sick of hearing from the CAB officials that the development committee has done nothing…
“There had been no invitation for meetings… Moreover, what is the point of meeting when there’s no plan to take it forward? We met twice but nothing happened thereafter.
“I don’t want to be part of something where nothing is happening. I didn’t resign because I didn’t wish to make an issue out of it…” the former India opener said.
Lal spelt out some of the committee’s recommendations to improve the local league structure. “We had said clearly at the very first meeting that we need to overhaul the league structure to make progress. The first division is not competitive and the fight for the title is limited to only 2/3 teams…
“There’s nothing to play for in the second division. Moreover, matches are fixed according to the whims of the officials… The places in second division clubs are sold and there’s no scope for the youngsters, who are being taken for a ride… These problems have never been highlighted. How do we promote talent if this is the case? Where is our cricket headed if this is the state of affairs!” Lal fumed.
“The proposals included having a premier division besides four other divisions. The premier division must consist of ten teams with three teams relegated and promoted every year. This way there will be more competitiveness and there was also a proposal to include big prize money for the top-three teams in the premier division.
“The next four divisions should have 25 teams each with five relegated and promoted every year. Proposal was also made to make inclusion of Under-17 and Under-19 players compulsory in these divisions. It’s the job of the association to provide facilities, infrastructure and ensure that cricket prospers… Sadly, nothing happens here,” Lal explained.
“We had also proposed that an interactive session be organised between us and the club officials… We will answer all queries… You can’t counter the combined wisdom of the four of us… But the idea proved to be a bit inconvenient for the officials…” said Lal.
“Another proposal was to concentrate on age-group cricket. We need to get the best coaches there. Get Ashok (Malhotra) to look after the Under-19 age-group for best results… I had also proposed that I will have motivational sessions with the Under-17 and Under-19 age-groups. But the CAB never showed the initiative to organise it.
“There’s also the need to have league matches in bigger grounds and provide better wickets. With a little initiative, YMCA and Town grounds could be made bigger… But the proposal never moved forward.”