In a stunning move, that defies sporting spirit, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has shut the door on 30 players from the English Counties of Yorkshire, Durham, Kent, Hampshire, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire and Nottinghamshire who were all set for a training mission in Indian conditions. According to a report in Telegraph in United Kingdom, the BCCI move is a reaction to the 2-1 Test defeat that India suffered at home against Alastair Cook's young English team.
It is not new for developmental sides to tour India and taste the largely spinning conditions, typical of sub-continental pitches. Sachin Bajaj of Pune, the founder of the Global Cricket School, has organised many such trips for English cricketers but this is the first time in seven years, he has fallen on the wrong side of arguably the strongest cricket Board on earth! The Telegraph says the BCCI has instructed that no foreigners must train at GCS without its permission.
Joe Root, the 22-year-old off-spinning all-rounder from Yorkshire, seems be the man responsible for this BCCI backlash. Having practised in India, Root was not a stranger to Indian conditions when he made a sparkling 73 on debut in the Nagpur Test that denied Mahendra Singh Dhoni's an Indian victory.
The Telegraph claims BCCI was already having an ongoing tussle with its English counterparts. The Indian Board had objected to a tour by the England Performance Programme. This tour ran parallel to the England-India Test series but players like Root and pacer Steven Fin used matches to prepare and get ready for the international games. The BCCI felt Test players participating in games meant for developmental sides was unfair.
The BCCI's reaction has come at surprise especially when it opens its door to the world's best players to come and play the Indian Premier League. Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan and Owais Shah are players who are IPL regulars. Pietersen has conceded that his IPL experience has stood him in good stead. Interestingly, former captain Andrew Strauss has also honed his batting skills on Indian wickets.
Most of the 30 County players will now fly to Sri Lanka to learn more about sub-continental conditions.