Anurag Thakur in a bind

Age-cheaters stay awake! BCCI is coming for you.

At the recent working committee meeting, which has now been followed up with a strict letter to affiliated units, the board officials focused on three moves to eradicate age fraud from Indian cricket.

A player can play in U-19 world cup only once, a player who comes under BCCI at U-19 level can only play two years in that age category tournaments, and has to submit at least three documents as age proof, and those who enter at U-16 level will have to qualify through a bone age determination test.

The BCCI currently does TW3 test (Tanner-Whitehouse), a skeletal maturity test to determine the age at U-16 level.

However, the board doesn’t opt for the TW3 test at the Under-19 level, they only rely on documents. It was a decision taken last November as it was suggested that the TW3 tests work best for U-16 category.

There are so far two age categories associated with the BCCI – the U-16, which is the formal entry level for cricketers, and the U-19. BCCI has had to reiterate that the birth certificates have to be genuine and have to be officially registered within a year of birth.

One charge that simply refused to die during and after the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh earlier this year was that of overage cricketers playing as U-19 boys. The allegations almost took the sheen off what was otherwise quite an impressive runners-up finish by India.

Fingers were being pointed at more than a couple of batsmen and bowlers and what showed credibility to these charges is that Indian cricket has seen these problems earlier too.

Many cricket pundits feel the only way to minimise age-fraud is to make U-19 players ineligible for IPL auction. He believes this will force some of them to reveal their true age in a bid to bag contracts and rid junior cricket of their presence.