Services forfeit tie against J&K, thrown out of Ranji Trophy

Security fears cited as the reasons for pull out; BCCI stands firm


Services forfeited the Plate Division match at the Sher-e-Kashmir stadium, hosting a Ranji game after a gap of five years, leaving the J&K Cricket Association chief Farooq Abdullah livid. “I will take up the matter with prime minister,” said Abdullah, president of J&KCA and Union New and Renewable Energy minister.
“We have been told that they are not coming here for security reasons. The situation is not bad here.

“When other teams come over here what is the problem with this team. They (forces) want to see us burning all the time so that they remain our masters,” he alleged.

The BCCI promptly disqualified Services from this year’s Ranji Trophy and said further action would be decided at its next working committee meeting. “The Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) cricket team was scheduled to play a Ranji Trophy game against Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) at Srinagar from Nov 3 to 6, 2009.

“However, the SSCB forfeited the match, having expressed its inability to send its cricket team to Srinagar. The SSCB has therefore been disqualified from participating in the 2009-10 edition of the Ranji Trophy, in accordance with the rules of the BCCI pertaining to domestic tournaments,” BCCI secretary N Srinivasan said in a statement.  
“A decision on any further action against the SSCB will be taken by the BCCI’s working committee,” the BCCI statement read.

Apology
Later, Services apologised for their decision and said they were ready to play in Srinagar on fresh dates. However, BCCI said the ban won’t be lifted.
The forfeiture gave J&K four points and they will now take on Haryana at the same venue from Nov 10 to 13.

Abdullah, also a former chief minister, stated that Services decision would badly tarnish the image of Kashmir at international. He added that the Services have negated what the prime minister, the defence minister and the home minister have said, that Kashmir is normal.

Ehsan Mirza, treasurer of the J&K Cricket Association, said Services had informed them that the team would arrive any day between October 30 and November 1 but after that there was no communication from their side.
“We tried calling their secretary many times but there was no word. Today all of us, including the match referee and umpire, were waiting for the Services team but there has been no official word from them,” the official said.
“They have been advised not to come,” Abdullah said. “Now, we will have to find out, who has advised them not to come. This incident has got a much larger picture. It is about, is Kashmir normal or not?”

“It was only few days ago, Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi addressed people in Anantnag without bullet-proof glass which was a positive signal to all that situation in Kashmir is normal,” he added.
It is understood that BCCI and SSCB representatives met with senior officials in the defence ministry conveying their stand. A Navy officer, however, said it could have happened if there is a specific intelligence against the team playing out in the open.
The JKCA had been in the news just a few weeks ago when an under-22 player Pervez Rasool was detained at Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy stadium. He was released after being questioned by the police and J&KCA had sought an apology from the Karnataka State Cricket Association for the incident.

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