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KSCA rules in favour of JCC, Century

The issue first arose when Jawans Cricket Club filed a protest against VCC on February 26.
Last Updated : 30 May 2024, 15:18 IST
Last Updated : 30 May 2024, 15:18 IST

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Bengaluru: A dispute involving three clubs that significantly delayed the start of Karnataka State Cricket Association's new season has finally been "settled", paving the way for the resumption of cricketing activities.  

The settlement, however, has left Vijaya Cricket Club aggrieved after the club was ordered by the Technical Committee (TC) of the Karnataka State Association (KSCA) to forfeit two of their Division I games for the 2023-24 season and leave out two ‘questionable’ players from their side going forward.

The issue first arose when Jawans Cricket Club filed a protest against VCC on February 26, stating that the team had made room for a more-than-permitted number of mofussil players in the side for the Group I, Division II MAT Acharya Shield tournament in February.

The two-day, red-ball game took place on February 24 and 25 at the Indian Air Force grounds, and VCC picked up three points on innings lead. According to the letter, which is available with DH, JCC claimed that they suspected eight players were played flouting the rules. 

On March 4, Century Cricketers also lodged an identical protest against VCC, claiming that they suspected three players were ineligible according to the KSCA constitution. VCC had won that game by an innings and 237 runs.

The TC's decision helped JCC get promoted to Group I, Division I league for the Sir Mirza Ismail Shield while VCC will remain in Div II.   

VCC responded to the aforementioned protests on April 13 with a five-page letter to the KSCA, offering evidence to the TC suggesting that the players in question were eligible to play in the league. 

“We have not yet received any formal intimation from the KSCA on this, but we are given to understand that the KSCA vice-president has decided that KSCA will rescind the results of the two matches we have played that the opposition teams had protested on,” said a representative of VCC. 

“The suggestion is that two of our players were ineligible to play these matches. KSCA offered us an opportunity to replay these two matches but we rejected the offer as we believe the players were fully eligible to play these matches and continue to be so. Our next steps are contingent on us receiving the written decision, which we hope will explain the KSCA's decision-making. This has been a long process and we have responded to all notices and allegations in full detail and in a timely manner.” 

“We had to take into account all the information and make a rounded decision to ensure that we can get the new season started,” said KSCA vice-president Sampath Kumar. “See, I am sure one club or the other is unhappy but we had to abide by the constitution. We did suggest that we put aside the rule book and have a rematch without the players being questioned but one of the three clubs was not okay with that. Finally, after numerous meetings, we have come to this decision, and it’s final.”

When asked why the decision took so long, Sampath said: “By the time the teams were intimated and they reverted, it was late, and then the Indian Premier League was going on, and then I was unavailable due to some personal things. These things happen.”

KSCA president Raghuram Bhat said much the same while adding a dash of optimism into the mix. “A lot of things happened at once so we were not able to address the issue at the earliest,” he told DH on Thursday. 

“We have come to a decision now so we will finish the one game VCC has from the previous season, and get the new season started. We’re delayed and it’s not ideal, but this is how things work out at times. See, I think God will be kind to us (as far as weather is concerned), and we will start taking registrations soon enough. Mostly by mid-June we should get going, everything is in place.” 

A similar predicament held up the season last year, but this delay is far more substantial in that nearly every tournament the KSCA has planned for the season will take a hit either due to monsoon or because of limited time.

Also, the still-to-be-named senior selection committee would have used the league to identify talent for the upcoming Ranji Trophy season and other tournaments of national significance. 

Moreover, the Maharaja Cup and the preceding KSCA Inter-Club T20 tournament will have to be run in haste. These complications will naturally have a trickle-down effect on age-group cricket and women’s tournaments too. 

In case one of the clubs appeals against the decision or seeks legal recourse, the league will be deferred further since the top two clubs get promoted to the first division.

“We understand that the KSCA Tournament Committee has met multiple times on the protest and an overwhelming majority agreed with our position that both the protests are baseless," the VVC representative said. "The matter should have ended there. However, the protests were suddenly taken up by the vice-president of KSCA. We reached out to him and the rest of the office bearers, sought copies of the protests and shared detailed explanations in response. We even found that one of the protests had been signed by a few club players instead of the club secretary or an authorised representative. 

"We kept requesting for the Tournament Committee's decision to be conveyed to us but we received no updates for weeks on end. Even now we are not aware of what it is that our players allegedly did wrong. We now learn that the final call has been made by the vice-president and not the Tournament Committee.”  

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Published 30 May 2024, 15:18 IST

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