JUST OVER a month ago, 15 teenaged cricketers were informed by the Indian board that they had been selected to represent the country in the Youth Asia Cup starting December 13 in Colombo. But on Thursday, one day before they were to join the preparatory camp for the tournament in Bengaluru, seven of them were told that they were not eligible for the one-day tournament.
The reason: the BCCI had got the cut-off year for eligibility wrong. Instead of 1-9-1998, as originally communicated by the Asian Cricket Council, the board told its selectors and joint secretary Amitabh Chaudhary that the cut-off year was 1997.
Not surprisingly, the BCCI didn’t issue a press release to announce the new team but quietly changed the name of the players on its official website.
“It was a major goof-up. Luckily, it came to our notice now. Things could have been worse if we would have come to know about this after the team had landed in Sri Lanka. The selectors were informed and they quickly replaced those seven names,” a BCCI official told The Indian Express.
Those who had to unpack their bags at the last minute, their dreams shattered, were: Digvijay Rangi, opening batsman (Himachal Pradesh); Chandan Sahini, middle-order batsman (Hyderabad); Daryl S Ferrario, batsman and off-spinner (Kerala), Sandeep Tomar, wicket-keeper and batsman (UP); Rishabh Bhagat, medium-pacer (Punjab); Simarjit Singh, medium-pacer (Delhi); and, Izan Sayed medium-pacer (Maharashtra).
For Meerut’s Tomar, for whom Sri Lanka would have been the first “videsh” trip, the selector’s call came as a shock. “It was a matter of great joy but now I am feeling equally sad. My visa was done, and passport submitted. I was to go Bengaluru tomorrow and join the camp. My mother said, ‘Don’t worry, if you are lucky, you will get another chance in the future’. But I missed an India cap by just eight days,” he said.
Rishabh Bhagat says he was heartbroken after realising that he won’t get to play under coach Rahul Dravid. “I got a call from the BCCI… It has happened, now what can I say? I was so happy but now am heartbroken,” he said.
Digvijay Rangi also shared similar sentiments. “My date of birth is April 15, 1998… I am sad but I can’t do anything,” he said.
The seven replacements named by the BCCI are: Himanshu Rana, Salman Khan, Harvik Desai, Yash Thakur, Heramb Parab, Vivekanand Tiwary, Het Patel (wicket-keeper).