The battle of one-upmanship is between the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association. Player are a frustrated lot. For, the BCCI is not ready to allow ‘outstation’ players in the Tamil Nadu Premier League.
“Which administration would stop its skilled professionals from performing extra duty in one of its own department,” questions a frustrated player. “There are players who are looking for monetary benefits and there are players who are looking for opportunities. How can our administration take away from us our basic right to perform and hone our skills,” questions the dejected player, adding “they (the BCCI officials) know that a player can neither protest, nor make a genuine comment if he has to protest his rights in this system.”
The BCCI has sent another letter to the TNCA, reiterating its stand that the Tamil Nadu Premier League can’t have ‘outstation’ players on board even if they are registered to play the Tamil Nadu cricket league.
The letter is shot a day prior to the TNPL player draft, scheduled for Friday. The BCCI has referred to a clause set by its working committee in 2009, when N Srinivasan was the BCCI secretary, to deny permission to the TNCA. The BCCI is reported to have also taken legal opinion on the matter.
“The Working Committee has exercised its power under Rule 28 b of the BCCI Constitution by inter alia granting permission to the concerned members in respect of various tournaments (like the KSCA’s Golden Jubilee Tournament, TNCA’s Buchi Babu Tournament, Hyderabad Cricket Association’s Moin-ud-Dowlah Tournament, PCA’s Dhruv Pandove Tournament) in which the players from regions outside the jurisdiction of the respective host member have been permitted to play on the terms and conditions specified by the BCCI.
“However, as a matter of consistent policy, no such permission has been granted by BCCI to any member in respect of T20 tournaments as decided by the Working Committee at its meeting held on 13th August 2009,” the cricket board letter to TNCA mentioned. Indian Express has published the contents of the letter.
TNCA secretary Palani had acknowledged in its letter to the BCCI that the Karnataka State Cricket Association and the Goa Cricket Association were not allowed to field outstation players in their respective T20 leagues. Palani, however, added that the BCCI communications to the KSCA and the GCA “may not be in consonance with the rules of the BCCI and therefore not binding.
On Thursday, the BCCI responded with: “The communication to the KSCA was signed by Mr. N. Srinivasan, the then Hon. Secretary of the BCCI, who is also a former President of the TNCA and continues to represent the TNCA as recently as during the Special General Meeting of the BCCI held on 26th June 2017.” The TNCA, however, has shot back, terming the BCCI logic “completely flawed”. “We are extremely disappointed with the content of the (BCCI) letter. The BCCI is vastly exceeding their authority.
They cannot quote any precedent for something like this, because they have got to show a rule or a regulation that prohibits the (outstation) players from playing. “Piyush Chawla could go and play in the TNCA first division league, why can’t he play in the TNPL? So we feel it’s a completelly flawed logic of the BCCI and we will take a call on how we want to take it forward,” TNPL chairman PS Raman is quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
The TNCA is going to take a decision on the player draft as well, although it is scheduled tomorrow. The BCCI letter stated that “since there is neither any statutory provision nor any rule in the BCCI Constitution, which expressly directs or requires such rules to be framed by the General Body, the Working Committee is empowered to frame such rules”.
‘Guest players’, however, can turn up for local T20 leagues, because they are different from ‘outstation players’. Those who take inter-state transfers before the start of the season are ‘guest players’. The BCCI tournament rules allow up to three ‘guest players’ in the squad. A total of 88 outstation players, including big names like Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan and Chawla had registered themselves with the TNCA.
The players, in touch with each other, are pleading helplessness. “We can go and play County cricket. We can go and play club cricket elsewhere in the world. But not in our own country. The officials (in the BCCI) will not even accept the fact that this is monsoon season. Tamil Nadu is the only place where you can play competitive cricket.
“What is the point on making tall claims about player development and coaching camps, when you are not ready to allow the player to play in one’s own country. In a tournament organized by your own member state,” says the player.
Another senior cricketer points out: “Why are you adamant on continue with wrong precedents. If your predecessors have done something wrong, then you must understand that you are given power to correct that. Else, soon courts will be deciding on players’ interests.”
“You are killing a tournament, you are killing an opportunity, you are killing the talent,” says another frustrated former India cricketer. “You train during the nets and put that training into practice in the match situation. These officials won’t understand. They play for power and posts, how can they know how the game is played. If they think players only want it for money, left them keep these moneys. But don’t take opportunity away from us.”