The Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) has decided to disallow ninth standard students from participating in the under-14 Giles Shield cricket tournament from the upcoming season. The new ruling has come about as a consequence of a few schools intentionally flunking their wards,who are good at cricket,in order to enhance the school’s chances of winning titles.
This is not the first attempt by the MSSA to deter schools from indulging in unfair tactics. A few seasons ago,they had introduced a rule where in no player could participate in the Giles Shield for more than five years nor could one play in the Harris Shieldfor under-16 boysfor more than three.
It was observed that many schools fail their students in the ninth standard so that he can continue taking part in the Giles Shield. It is done with the sole purpose of ensuring that the child’s school cricket career is prolonged. Hence the MSSA decided to disallow ninth standard players from the Giles Shield henceforth, said MSSA’s cricket secretary HS Bhor.
There have also been cases of schools trying to make the most of their talented players,getting them to play in both the Giles and Harris Shield tournaments.
The move not surprisingly hasn’t gone down too well with some of the school coaches in the city. As Shardashram Vidyamandir coach Naresh Churi explained,with good reason. He believed that the new ruling could rob a number of genuine young cricketers of a great opportunity.
The decision must have been taken by MSSA because of few schools,who indulge in such kind of unfair tricks to win tournaments. But my question is,what if there is a genuine boy,who is good and is still under-14? Does he deserve to miss out just because he is in standard IX? said Churi.
Churi also fears that not getting to play in the Giles Shield could close the curtains on some players who might not get a chance to play in the Harris Shield. If you see any U-16 school side,there will be players,who might be good but don’t get a chance to play Harris Shield because there is no vacancy for them. So it’s natural that he will look at the Giles Shield for an opportunity. Not any more though, Churi stated.
The MSSA has in fact taken a leaf out of the District Sports Association’s (DSO) rule-book,where in players studying in the ninth standard are not allowed to play in the under-14 Vinoo Mankad tournament.