Mumbai, Sep 15: Overage players' participation remains a major handicap in the conduct of the inter-school cricket tournament and was one of the reasons for the Cricket Board stopping its conduct after a three-year experiment, said BCCI CAO Prof. Ratnakar Shetty here today (Sep 15).
"We conducted Inter-Schools tournament for three years but because of the complexities of problems, including over age players, we have now stopped it and are conducting only age group tournaments where the BCCI's state associations have a control," Shetty said at the launch of the Coca Cola Cricket Cup All India under 16 tournament.
Shetty advised the organisers to conduct bone tests on players to verify their exact age as otherwise he felt the very purpose of the tournament gets defeated.
He also lauded the organisers for spotting a major sponsor by saying "within cricket itself it is not easy to get sponsors at the junior level".
The tournament is to be played from mid-October among schools in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and rest of AP, Punjab, Baroda, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, UP and Saurashtra.
The winners and runners-up from each city/state would advance to the inter-zonals and after the finals a combined team would be picked to play against an international school outfit, according to the organisers.
"Three players would be picked at the end of the tournament for a four-week training stint in top UK schools that will also involve personality development," said former India stumper Saba Karim who is the tournament's advisor.
Former India opener-turned coach Lalchand Rajput said that leading current players like Ishant Sharma and Robin Uthappa have played in this tournament before climbing up the ladder.
"This is a great opportunity for youngsters to make a mark as most players who do well at the zonal level are not able to replicate it at the inter-zonals. I remember having seen Ishant Sharma and Robin Uthappa playing in the tournament some years ago," he said.
Up to the quarterfinals, the matches would be of a minimum of 40-over per side and later on it would be a 50-over-a-side encounter, said Procam's P N Shankaran.