|Pritam Das and Sibsankar Roy
Guwahati, Sept. 15: The Assam Cricket Association (ACA) has moved the BCCI seeking its president’s intervention to sort out alleged discrimination towards players in selection of teams for the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy tournament.
The ACA has lodged a complaint with the BCCI, alleging that the senior selectors had deprived the Assam cricketers of berths in the India Red and India Blue teams though Assam was the Vijay Hazare Trophy tournament runners-up.
Vide a September 12 letter to the Board president N. Srinivasan, the ACA has taken up the cause of pacer Pritam Das, who tallied the highest number of 18 wickets in the limited-over tournament earlier this year.
It also lobbied hard with the selectors for a few others, including Abu Nechim Ahmed, Sibsankar Roy, Pallab Das, Arup Das and Tarjinder Singh.
However, all pleas fell on deaf ears with the selectors arguing that the yardstick for selection to teams concerned has become stricter and the Assam players were not up to the mark in the DB Deodhar Trophy tournament held here in March; thus did not deserve an opportunity.
The ACA’s argument is that if one of the teams in the tournament can be the Vijay Hazare Trophy champions in Delhi, the opponents ought to comprise at least some players from the runners-up team. Altogether five Assam players figured in the East Zone team.
The ACA has argued with the BCCI that it would be demoralising if players were deprived like this even after putting up creditable show in a season. On Ahmed, the selectors mentioned a BCCI instruction barring Champions League T20 players from being named in the Challenger Trophy squads because the tournaments dates would clash.
ACA secretary Bikash Baruah has argued with selectors Sandeep Patil and Syed Saba Karim over telephone from the ACA on the issue on several occasions.
The ACA has taken exception to a section of former state players, under the banner of the newly formed Association for Cricketers of Assam, blaming Baruah alone for the Assam players being deprived of berths in the two squads concerned.
In a statement, the ACA termed it as an “irresponsible remark” and appealed to the veterans to cross check the facts with the ACA before making such comments before the media.
“We, too, have allegations against some of the veteran cricketers who had earlier tarnished the ACA’s image when they represented the state as selector and on other assignments. But, we are not going to the media with irresponsible remarks against them,” Baruah said without naming the veterans he referred to.
“Our boys are doing better these days and it is time we should all join hands and try to capitalise on it to get our players in the national squad rather than getting engaged in war of attrition against one another,” Baruah said, adding the ACA would continue to fight for the players’ rights.