Age fraud: Different yardsticks for different players

MUMBAI: Dealing with age fraud in Indian cricket appears to be a classic case of using different yardsticks for different individuals where left doesn’t know what right is doing. Two Under-19 World Cup winning stars, Manjot Kalra and Shivam Mavi, along with another T20 cricketer Nitish Rana, have been rounded up for age fraud.

In Kalra’s case, it is the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) that has found it prudent to deal with the matter and handed the young player a year’s suspension. In the case of Mavi, the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) – from where the cricketer hails – the matter has been referred to the BCCI. Worse, in the case of Rana – who is also registered with DDCA – the association has taken the call that the player be given more time to submit age-related documents as proof.

“Three separate ways of dealing with three different cricketers, all being dealt with under the same policy matter. Now, what does it tell us? BCCI simply doesn’t have a uniform policy on age fraud. That bit is clear,” say those tracking developments.

What further raises a stink here is how the BCCI had sought to deal with another Under-19 cricketer, Rasikh Salam, in June last year. Salam, a young player from Jammu & Kashmir, was handed a two-year ban by the board after they found that the cricketer had “submitted a fudged birth certificate” ahead of the Under-19 ODI tri-series in England last year and withdrew his name from the team list.

Salam had, during that season, become the “youngest” player to feature in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
“Rahul (Dravid) has spoken about age-fraud. The BCCI has spoken with Rahul (on multiple matters). Why is there no uniform policy on this issue? If Dar is guilty of fudging his age certificate and deserves a two-year ban, why a separate rule for Kalra? Because he was part of India’s World Cup winning squad? Why has Mavi been referred to BCCI but Kalra been dealt with by DDCA? Why has Rana been given more time but not Kalra or Mavi? Nothing makes sense here,” add sources.

BCCI office-bearers Sourav Ganguly, Jay Shah, Arun Dhumal and Jayesh George – among others – have just taken charge and may need more time to understand matters.

“But that does not mean the team handling domestic operations shouldn’t be bringing these matters to their notice. Either Salam’s two-year ban was wrong or Kalra’s one-year ban is wrong or Mavi being referred to BCCI is wrong or Rana being given time is wrong. Take a pick,” say officials.