No T20 if you're under-21!

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In a significant decision aimed at encouraging players to hone and perfect their skills first, Punjab Cricket Association has decided not to give NOC to any player registered with the PCA under the age of 21 years who play in T20 game for any club/team/institution including the cash-rich and glamorous IPL.

The decision was taken at the Administrative Committee meeting of the PCA at Mohali on Sunday chaired by PCA President I S Bindra.

The Administrative Committee of the PCA had met to take stock of the performance of the Punjab’s senior and junior teams in the domestic national tournaments.

M P Pandove, Secretary PCA and former member of the Senior National Committee of the BCCI, set the ball rolling by pointing out that the shortest version of the game was distracting the players for acquiring the skills necessary for playing in the longer version of the game—five and four day matches.

“The shortest version of the game being played by the junior players is causing this damage,” Pandove felt.

However, PCA committee felt that there can be exceptional and extraordinary talent which matures early and reaches a stage of perfection. In order not to deny opportunities to such players, exception would only be made for contracted players of the BCCI even if they were below 21.

At the moment, there are only three contracted players from the State—Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Rahul Sharma, all of whom are over 21 years of age.

Asked if this step would invite criticism from different quarters, Pandove told PTI, “Look, we are the first association to take this step in the interest of players, many of whom I know will not like it. We strongly felt that 17-21 years are formative years for any player and there should be no distraction.

The step which we have taken is in the larger interest of players and country’s cricket as a whole.”
Pandove said the members discussed the matter and the Committee agreed with the observations made by him and took a decision that PCA youngsters should be groomed and trained for playing in longer version for performing creditably at the senior level.

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