Coaches Seek Leeway For Players As BCCI Suspends Junior Events
The BCCI's decision to postpone age-group tournaments - possibly a suspension this year - due to Covid-19 has left young players in the lurch and unless the Indian cricket board gives leeway to young cricketers, it could mean a big loss to a generation of cricketers, say prominent coaches.
The BCCI had, on Tuesday, informed state cricket bodies that it would be postponing junior cricket tournaments. Under-19 cricket was expected to begin in April but due to a rise in Covid-19 cases, it has been delayed and a decision on it will be taken only after the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Sources say that the BCCI's priority at the moment is the safe conduct of the IPL without any untoward incident that can have an impact on the forthcoming T20 World Cup.
"While our endeavor was to get in as many matches as was practicable across different age groups in the season, prevailing circumstances have now forced us to suspend all age-group tournaments."
"This is on account of the fact that active COVID cases are on the rise and organizing tournaments requires intercity travel, strict quarantine measures, and the creation and maintenance of bio-secure bubbles for the participants. Moreover, the situation is presently not conducive in some states," said BCCI's communication to the member associations, a copy of which is with IANS.
"Considering the fact that the 10th and 12th board examinations are also around the corner across India, it is prudent that our young athletes have the opportunity to prepare and focus on these crucial examinations. Furthermore, our players' health, safety, and well-being are our primary concerns."
"I assure you that we will continue exploring a window for organizing the age-group tournaments post the IPL 2021," added the communication.
However, some top coaches feel that it could impact the career of many youngsters who could become overage next year.
"I think it will have an adverse impact on the promising youngsters who are working throughout the year even during the Covid-19 period."
"They were making a lot of effort on fitness and game despite limitations and were trying hard to represent states and for the country. It will be a setback to all of them," said Delhi coach Rajkumar Sharma, who also mentored Virat Kohli. Sharma had coached the Delhi junior teams before.