Dark clouds are hanging over the participation of Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association players in the domestic season after a lower magisterial court in Jammu upheld the stay order in favour of president Farooq Abdullah, who was ousted by the JKCA executive committee a few months back.
The court verdict in favour of the National Conference leader is bound to affect those players who chose to participate in the rival camp instead.
Two factions — one led by Abdullah, and the other by youth services and sports minister Imran Raza Ansari — have been conducting two different camps and selection trials before the domestic season kicks off in October. As a result of the court order, those who attended the camp conducted by the Abdullah group will now be preferred for selection to various JKCA teams.
Interestingly, most of the Ranji team players, including star performer Parvez Rasool, have been attending the camp conducted by the Ansari group in Srinagar.
ML Nehru, an Abdullah supporter who has been conducting trials in Jammu University ground, told The Indian Express that preference will be given to those who have been attending trails there.
“How can I pick players who have not attended trials conducted by us? Those players who have been attending trials here will be preferred for the J&K team. As the court has given the order in our favour, we will soon announce the team and coaches for various age-group teams,” Nehru said.
It’s not just Rasool and Co. who finds themselves in trouble. A few weeks back former Delhi batsman Mithun Manhas moved to J&K to become the team’s captain-cum-coach for the forthcoming season. Interestingly, Nehru says they never called Manhas, so he will not be considered for the J&K side.
“We never called Manhas here, nor did we send any letter to the BCCI saying that we want him as a professional player. So how could you expect us to play him?” Nehru asked.
Sources in the BCCI said it has not accepted Manhas’s application seeking transfer as it has come from the Ansari group, which has no powers.
“The BCCI has not accepted his application. We don’t recognise the Ansari group as the court has stayed the matter. Manhas can’t represent J&K,” a top BCCI official confirmed.
The Ansari group, though, has a different take. JKCA secretary Iqbal Shah, who is from the Ansari group, said two orders have been passed on Tuesday.
“The magistrate court has handed down a stay order but the second additional district judge has maintained status quo. Which means joh jaisa hai waise he rahega (it will remain as it is). So how can they decide who will play and who will not.
The matter will come up for hearing again on September 18. The top players of J&K are with us, be it the under-19, under-23 or Ranji. There are only 2-3 players who are practising in the other camp. I think the BCCI should step in before it is too late,” Shah said.
Meanwhile, Nehru has written to the BCCI saying in the absence of proper infrastructure they won’t be able to host domestic matches in the Valley and they must be shifted elsewhere.
However, Shah said that’s not the case and the BCCI should do a recce as the infrastructure is perfectly fine to host domestic games.