Meghalaya’s T20 League for North-East States has major BCCI hurdle to clear

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The Meghalaya Cricket Association has inked a memorandum of understanding with a Shillong-based event management company to launch the Meghalaya T20 Premier League in the State.

However, the proposed league will have to clear a BCCI roadblock before seeing the light of the day.

The Meghalaya Premier League, a State cricket association initiative to have its own T20 professional cricket league, has been backed by the State government. Chief Minister Conrad Sangma was present at the ceremony to sign the MoU to launch the league. The Meghalaya Cricket Association and the Shillong-based event management firm Orient Tradelink have inked the deal on Monday.

The ₹ 5 lakh prize money league is yet to get a formal BCCI nod. Secondly, the BCCI guidelines do not permit the State-level leagues to acquire talent from outside the States. In such a scenario, the Meghalaya cricket body and its commercial partners will find it difficult to realise the plan and strategy to conduct the league with players from the other north-eastern States.

The Meghalaya Cricket Association and its management partners are planning to launch the league next year from March 1 to 15. There are plans to involve players from the North-East States and some talent from International Cricket Council’s associate nations like Afghanistan and Nepal. The proposed format as of now will be the biggest stumbling block for the league.

The State Cricket Association and professional agency it seems have not done their homework well. To permit the players’ entry from the other North East States the BCCI will be required to modify its own guidelines, which as of now seems highly unlikely following the tough stand the national cricket body had adopted to prevent the Tamil Nadu Premier League and the other intra-State leagues from “importing” the talent from outside the State.

The BCCI guidelines make it mandatory for the intra-State T20 leagues to not allow players who are registered with the other State Associations.

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In such a scenario, the Meghalaya Cricket Association will find it difficult to launch the league for the fact that the outstation players might not be allowed at all and the State does not have sufficient talent at home to create six professional teams.

BCCI’s New Area Development Programme convener and MCA secretary Naba Bhattacharjee though has said the MPL is designed to encouraging the indigenous youth to take up cricket in the urban as well as rural areas of the State and to harness the dormant local talent in Meghalaya.

The Meghalaya Cricket Association has also made an attempt to launch a league in Shillong in 2008 for the teams from Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. Then the ₹ 3 lakh prize money league had failed to take off. The league was planned shortly after the BCCI had granted an associate membership to the North East States.