Sports

CAB needs to be pro-active to stop age-related cheating

Saba Nayakan Kolkata | Updated on September 15, 2013

Age fudging in Indian sport is rampant. It is very prominent in a team game like cricket. The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) recently caught 49 over-aged boys playing in a tournament meant for under-14 years — this only highlights the malady.

The CAB is not the only association to suffer on this count. Almost all sporting disciplines being promoted in Bengal face the same problem. Only popular sports such as cricket and football attract attention, while the rest escape media scrutiny.

Even in the recent cases reported from the CAB, the accusing finger is being pointed towards coaching centres for encouraging and fielding over-aged players in a tournament meant for U-14. Last season, an adult in his early 20s, was caught and punished by the CAB for playing in an age-group tournament.

Coaching centres

The question is why some coaching centres, including a few well-known ones, indulge in such malpractices? It is purely to enhance the brand value of a coaching centre. Victory is achieved by wrong means which go largely unreported. More students get attracted to the centre based on publicity accorded to it. More students mean more money.

With the school cricket in complete mess, even the CAB has to depend on U-14 and U-17 tournaments to scout for talent.

The CAB is contemplating to discontinue the age group inter-coaching camp tournaments. This will not be a wise decision. Instead, the CAB can frame stricter rules and introduce better management in screening the players. At the same time, the CAB will do well by giving importance to school cricket.

Alternatively, the CAB can compel the 57 second division clubs under its control to put in place a system to unearth newer talent and to provide infrastructure facilities to develop its own feeder line.

Almost the entire teams in Bengal, from senior, U-25, U-19 and U-16, are the product of coaching centres. Be it Sourav Ganguly, Manoj Tiwary, L. R. Shukla, Shreevats Goswami, Ravikant Singh and Aamir Gani — all of them have come through the same system.

The CAB needs to be alert to the changing demands of the game. It should realise that not all coaching centres encourage age-related cheating. Better vigil and harsher punishments will deter the few who are bent upon discrediting the game.

> sabanayakan.s@thehindu.co.in

Published on September 15, 2013

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