Addressing the over-age issue, the Board of Control for Cricket in India is planning to take some bold decisions, especially pertaining to representing the country in U-19 World Cups. They are deliberating to formulate a rule by which only once can a cricketer represent India in U-19 World Cups. A top BCCI official said that it’s pointless to have players playing in two U-19 World Cups. The concern was also voiced by U-19 coach Rahul Dravid. “There has been cases before of players representing India in two U-19 World Cups. We all feel, and even Dravid pointed it out, that some rules need to be reworked. As far as U-16 is concerned, the BCCI conducts TW3 (Tanner-Whitehouse 3 bone-age calculator) method test. But for U-19 it has to rely on documents, which can be fudged easily,” an official said. While the TW3 test was accurate assessing the age of U-16 players it was inconclusive when it came to U-19 players. Even the ICC had apprehensions of the accuracy of the method and the BCCI subsequently dropped using this method for U-19 players last year and restored to verifying their certificates, which though can easily be counterfeited. Hence, the BCCI is mulling on the new rule.
In the previous U-19 World Cup, held early this year in Bangladesh, several Indian players like Sarfaraz Khan, Ricky Bhui and Avesh Khan were playing in their second World Cup. This trend, several BCCI members felt, wasn’t progressive. The BCCI feels the same set of juniors player playing junior World Cup twice will deprive other players. “If any player is good, then there should be a general progress. Playing India U-19 is not the last stop. Two years ago, BCCI came up with a rule for National Cricket Academy. Any under-16 player can only be picked twice for U-16 and four times for under 19,” the source added. Also, there has been cases where many young players forge their age in such a manner that they can get a chance to play at least two World Cups. “For instance, a young player goes with such a plan when it comes to producing fake documents that if not this time then he should be eligible after three years to be part of the India U-19 side. If you compare it with the rest of the world, you will come across more Indian players who have played in a junior World Cup. Such practices needs to be stopped,” he said.