The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is planning to have a University League in order to revive University cricket in the country. In the 70’s and 80’s, university cricket produced many cricketers — most notably Sunil Gavaskar —who went on to represent India but it has lost its charm since then. BCCI president Anurag Thakur told The Indian Express that the board’s working committee, scheduled this week, will discuss how the board can revive University cricket.
BCCI is planning a T20 league but it is yet to draw a blue print for it. There are more than 100 universities across India and having so many teams would not be feasible for the board. So a league system might be formed where top performers from different University cricket sides will be picked in different teams.
“During my playing days the University cricket was still relevant but before that it used to be the stepping stone for the Test and international cricket. Today, it needs overhauling and we will discuss that in the working committee how to revive it. We can think to do something on league basis in T20 format. Or we can think of a different kind of tournament which could give quality players to the nation,” Thakur stated.
Last November, former India batsman and selector Dilip Vengsarkar too had made a strong case for revival of university cricket. “”I have seen Ajit Wadekar scoring a triple hundred against Delhi University during my days. Even Sunil Gavaskar made a lot of runs in inter-university cricket. In fact, it was on that basis that he was selected in 1971 for the tour of the West Indies. Even I had almost scored a double hundred against Delhi. It was a really big thing back then. It is thus very important to revive inter-university cricket,” Vengsarkar said then.
Thakur says that many players opt for professional courses and leave cricket but having such kind of leagues will throw opportunities to cricketers who have to choose between academics and cricket.
“Many young players, especially those players who are 17-18 years of age, their focus goes into studying in professional colleges like engineering, medical. To ensure that talent doesn’t go to waste we want to give them opportunity to come and play and if they still have the calibre or potential to play for the nation than this could be the stepping stone for them,” Thakur added.