Just two days before BCCI announced the fixtures of the long domestic cricket which has already kicked off last month with the start of Duleep trophy. BCCI made many changes this year, like the Ranji trophy matches will now be played at neutral venues, Deodhar trophy to be played in Challenger trophy format and many more alterations have been done with a view to improve the quality of the game.

Every year more than 500 cricketers play domestic cricket in India to showcase their talent and present their case in front of national selectors to get selected in the Indian team. The count of players playing domestic cricket every year rise to more than 1000 if players from junior cricket are also included in the list. But only 20-25 cricketers get a chance to represent the country in a year.

Last year’s domestic season was a great success as many players from that season were successful and lucky to find a berth in the Indian squad. The first player to find a place in the Indian squad was Punjab pacer Barinder Singh Sran who impressed the Indian batsmen in the nets when team India was practising in P.C.A. stadium before a test match against South Africa. Hardik Pandya was next who found a place in the squad on the basis of his performance in IPL but he performed well in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy which helped him to find a place in the final XI against Australia. Pawan Negi was the next one to find a place; his case was strengthened with good performance in IPL as well as in Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Ravindra Jadeja to marked his comeback in the national squad with his solid bowling performance in the first three matches of Ranji Trophy.

So fair call by selectors for selecting a player on basis of performance in domestic cricket? Yes seems so but that not the truth.

Let us get you across a surprising fact, till now in the history of Indian cricket not even a single player from any North East part of the country have got an opportunity to represent the country. This is a strange and shocking fact which is difficult to digest for many of us. There have been many heroes from these states too but none of them have fared enough to impress the selectors in 82 domestic seasons played till now.

The board claims to be fair and unbiased during selection but the stats shows that it is not the case. History reveals that the performance of players only from big states and associations are taken into consideration while the selection.

So who is at fault? Selectors, BCCI, State Association or the players who play for that state. One possible reason for ignoring them can be that these teams play in Group C of the Ranji Trophy, so the selectors might have developed a mindset that these players can only play well against players of their level.

Or the other reason could be that players from these states do not get much media attention and hype which reduces their chance of getting selected in the national team. The third reason which is an interesting one is that the players from these states hardly manages to draw an IPL for themselves so it may be hard for selectors to judge the performance of these players in the biggest tournament in India, IPL.

Now-a-days IPL has become a ‘Barometer’ for selectors to check whether a player is good enough to play for the country or not. IPL is like an entrance exam for the cricketers which they have to pass with flying colours in order to get admission in the Indian Cricket Team.
There are many cases which prove that IPL is a course which guarantees a place in Indian squad within 7 weeks. Manpreet Gony, Sudeep Tyagi, Rahul Sharma, Axar Patel cases support the above statements. All from Gony to Sharma are now finding it difficult to play for their state-side and Axar has also been dropped from Indian squad. But yes they represented India. Krishna Das the second highest wicket taker of last year’s Ranji Trophy was not been able to fetch an IPL contract for himself, so it may be difficult for him to find a place in the Indian squad in future.

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We have always seen the national selectors going to various parts of countries to watch domestic matches so as to spot a new talent. Last year too they found a new talent in form of Nathu Singh, the IPL Crorepati. He was fast-tracked to play for the Indian Board Presidents’ squad within just 3 weeks after he made his first-class debut. The selector Sandeep Patil said that the selectors spotted a “SPARK” in Nathu.

Is this the way to be selected to climb the ladder? If yes then BCCI should also build International level grounds in North East so these states have a fair chance to be selected in the Indian squad. Or the players should themselves build the ground?

Teams like Haryana, Odisha, Services can also be added to the list of teams who faces discrimination as these states too suffers from the same problem. Let us get you across a shocking story, in one of the matches of this year’s Ranji Trophy between Haryana and Odisha at Lahli, there was only a single reporter who turned up at the ground to cover the match. The same Lahli where Sachin Tendulkar played last Ranji Trophy match of his career and the event was celebrated with great Pomp and Show. The event was covered by each section of media and the match reports were published on the front page of the newspaper. That`s the truth and a harsh reality too.

This is a proven fact that players from Teams like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengal, Karnataka, Gujarat, U.P. have always dominated the Indian squad. The performance of players from these states easily gets noticed and they get their opportunity to play for India. Even if they fail they are given a second try, third try and they continue to eat the place of deserving candidates. Well, a fresh example can be Rohit Sharma who is in the Indian team for almost 9 years now but he managed to seal his place in the squad after 7 years when he had a good run in Champions Trophy in 2013.

Many fans believe that due to him only no other domestic player was able to find a place in middle order. He also ate up the place of Manoj Tiwary who was in good form in 2011. Players from these states are given enough chances and also given much limelight when they score in domestic cricket which makes it easy for them to make a comeback in the squad. Not to mention how Ravindra Jadeja made his comeback last year, doctored pitches played a big role in his comeback.

The players from North Eastern along with few like J&k, Odisha, Kerala and Services are an isolated group of teams and are treated as sidelined teams of BCCI.

The veteran batsman from Yashpal Singh, who is also an officer in the Indian navy averages more than 50 with the bat in First Class cricket but could never impress selectors. The reason is obvious that he doesn`t get enough limelight. C.V. Stephen, P Prasanth who are in the list of highest wicket taker in Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy 2015-16 failed to draw an IPL contract mainly due to lack of attention and limelight.

Assam, Sikkim, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Haryana, Hyderabad, J&K, Odisha, services, Tripura, Railways, Rajasthan are the states who are certainly facing nepotism. Many stalwarts like Yashpal Singh, Jalaj Saxena, Swapnil Asnodkar, Arindam Das, Shadab Jakati are live examples of players who have faced nepotism. Shadab Jakati enjoyed name, fame and limelight in the IPL but could never impress the Indian selectors.

Along with IPL, the cricket administrators who are running cricket in India are to be blamed too. There are many cases in which a player is selected in the Indian team purely because he has a ’SOURCE” behind him. Jaydev shah who has an average of 27 in first class matches and an average of 21.50 in List A matches was selected to captain India A squad for a tour Zimbabwe and Kenya. Another lad Srikkanth Anirudha who was selected for the emerging players’ tournament in Australia has a strong hand behind him. His selection sparked a controversy. In 2013 he was purchased by Sunrisers Hyderabad in the auction may be because his father was a part of team management. Stuart Binny despite average show in domestic cricket has donned the international jersey of India. He was also the part of the Indian squad for the 2015 World Cup but did not play any match there.

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Along with nepotism, the corruption also comes into play in the game. How? The current secretary of BCCI was selected as the president of HPCA at the age of 25. He made his first-class debut after taking over the charge and made a world record for himself. Well, his father was the Chief Minister of the state during all this. Tejashwi Yadav the current deputy Chief Minister of Bihar also the son of former Railway minister of India and former CM of Bihar Lalu Prasad Yadav shared a dressing room with Virat Kohli playing for Delhi Under19 team but flopped. He surprisingly managed to draw an IPL contract for himself. During all this, he played for Jharkhand but again could not produce the good. Finally, he decided to quit cricket and concentrate on politics. Well, his mother is also former CM of Bihar.

The selection Udit Patel in the Karnataka Ranji squad was questioned by legend Rahul Dravid, Udit is the son of the secretary of KSCA and former cricketer Brijesh Patel. The biggest and shocking example of corruption can be that in the year 2012 selectors wanted to remove M.S. Dhoni from captaincy but could not remove him as there was pressure from the president of BCCI of that time. Also, there are regular allegations that players representing CSK are being preferred over the other players.

Now-a-days there is a big trouble in BCCI over the conflict of interest. This has lead to a big problem as along with administrators the players are too affected by this. Players and the administrators should face it and should not hide their wrong deeds. But there is one man who had set a perfect example for the others. The former Indian cricketer Narendra Hirwani, he also found himself in this conflict of interest row. He straightaway resigned from the selection panel of MPCA as his son was also part of the squad. The other administrator has to take inspiration from him so as to make BCCI clean.

BCCI have to realise that they have to pay proper attention towards small states too as the big states are enjoying “MONOPOLY”. The BCCI should keep aside their stereotyped behaviour and should give a fair chance to each and every player from each and every association. In fact, the preference should be given to the players from small associations.

BCCI can organise separate leagues for players from small associations apart from Ranji Trophy. BCCI should make a rule in IPL that a certain percent of players from these states should be purchased by an IPL side. BCCI should telecast matches of these states so as to enable fans to know who these players are. Surely if these suggestions are taken into consideration, this will surely promote the interest of these cricketers too.
Rest depends on upon the fine sense of judgment of BCCI. We hope that players from these states to get a fair chance to play for India and have a bright future.

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