New Delhi: Cricketers from 30 BCCI recognized teams play competitive cricket at the highest level and from them one champion emerges. But some don't even get the chance to compete. In cricket mad India the BCCI has 30 full members. But a few are ignored. States like Uttarakhand and Bihar, not to mention a number of Union Territories are not even recognized by the BCCI. Sports Activist and Lawyer Rahul Mehra states that the "North east is completely neglected and so the BCCI needs to get the them under their fold so that it can be a vehicle of change for them".
Bihar hasn't been a member of the BCCI ever since the creation of Jharkhand in 2001. Lalu Prasad Yadav and Kirti Azad both formed their own cricket associations but their bitter battle has ensured neither has been recognized by the Indian board. Currently there are 4 different cricket associations jostling for power in Bihar. In 2008, the BCCI lent support to Bihar cricket by granting Rs 50 lakh for the development of the game in the state but the Lalu Prasad Yadav led Bihar Cricket Association failed to give an account of where that money was spent. No wonder the BCCI has only visited the state once for an inspection tour in the last decade.
In 2002, Uttarakhand was created by dividing Uttar Pradesh. It's been 10 years and the BCCI has not given it recognition. Kirti Azad asks 'When Punjab got bifurcated, Haryana and Himachal got full membership when Bengal got bifurcated Assam, Orissa and Bihar got full membership. So what is the problem now?'
I spoke to a Chartered Accountant and Cricket Promoter by the name of Eswaran in Dehradun and he said that it was because of the delay of the BCCI in giving recognition to the state that more and more associations came up.
The latest though is that the BCCI has managed to make 2 main bodies, the Uttarakhand Cricket Association and Cricket Association of Uttarakhand sign a truce by which they will share control of cricket. However, that hasn't inspired any confidence among those in Uttarakhand.
As a result, those who have tried to make cricket their life have suffered. One might argue that Uttarakhand does not have the where with all for cricket at such a level. But that is as far from the truth as the BCCI is from asking Sachin Tendulkar to retire.
Consider this, Dehradun has a state of the art cricket facility with indoor cricket nets and a facility to play day night cricket and that's just one example. Being the educational hub of the country with schools like The Doon School, Welham Boys School and St. George's College, Mussoorie, it does boast of great talent.
The Gold Cup which has been held in Dehradun for more than 25 years has attracted the likes of MS Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh and Piyush Chawla. In fact, if Uttarakhand would have been a BCCI recognized state from day one then in all likelihood cricketers like MS Dhoni & Unmukt Chand would not have been playing for Jharkhand or Delhi. They would have played for Uttarakhand.
I spoke to Pratyush Vaishnav who has been aspiring to play for India for the last 17 years. He said "Since 2002, every year, a new cricket association of Uttaranchal has come up and they have made false promises. I have played for at least 3 associations. Although, I have been very keen on cricket I have had to look at another profession. This has just killed my love for cricket 17 years but I'm still hopeful."
I too have played in Uttarakhand with the hope that someday, the BCCI will recognize this state. I don't blame anyone. But you and I both know the BCCI is powerful enough to ensure young cricketers in Uttarakhand get a chance to play Ranji Trophy cricket for their state before it is too late.