Age-cheaters beware! The Indian cricket board is coming for you. At the recent working committee meeting, which has now been followed up with a letter to affiliated units, they firmed up on three moves to stem age fraud. A player can play in U-19 world cup only once, a player who comes into BCCI fold at U-19 level can only play two years in that age-category tournaments, and need to produce at least three documents as age proof, and those who enter at U-16 level need to undergo a bone age determination test.
The BCCI currently does TW3 test (Tanner-Whitehouse), a skeletal maturity test to determine age at U-16 level. However, the board does not employ the TW3 test at the Under-19 level, relying on documents. It was a decision taken last November as it was deemed that the TW3 tests work best for U-16 category.
There are two age categories associated with the BCCI – the U-16, which is the formal entry level for cricketers, and the U-19. The board has had to reiterate that the birth certificates have to be genuine and have to be officially registered within a year of birth.
In a letter dated July 1 2016, accessed by The Indian Express, BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke writes: “There are some cricketers who enter at the under 19 age group level. Such players should submit at least three documents to support their date of birth if they are to be considered to participate in the under 19 tournament directly without having entered the BCCI circuit at the under 16 level. You are requested to discourage cricketers who submit birth certificates issued just a few years before. As per the Government of India rules, the birth has to be registered with in one year of the birth of the child.”
The authenticity of the certificates have often caused headaches in the cricketing fraternity. Different state associations have often landed in trouble with them. Some like the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) , which has many cricketers migrating from different states, face a tougher challenge than some of the others.
MCA joint secretary PV Shetty says that there have been many cases where players have migrated but don’t possess any birth certificate. Shetty listed some of the associated problems. “In a state like Uttar Pradesh, the schools don’t ask for any birth certificate which is not the case in Mumbai where parents will have to submit copy of birth certificate to respective schools. There has been cases earlier where players have played for Mumbai but didn’t have birth certificate. MCA has now strictly asked for birth certificate or else we don’t pick. Some got it but some couldn’t. In UP, a letter from mere Pradhan of the village is the proof of birth certificate but we don’t accept that,” Shetty said.
Meanwhile, the BCCI secretary Shirke has written in his letter that those players who enter the BCCI junior tournament at the U-19 level will be allowed to play in the under 19 tournament of the BCCI for maximum of two years. Shirke also re-stressed the TW3 testing method for U-16. “Under 16 is the formal entry point for players participating in the BCCI junior tournament and they have to undergo age verification process to be eligible. The age verification process involves bone rating-TW3 method. Only those who pass the bone rating are eligible to play in the under 16 tournaments.”