BCCI U-16 tournament postponed after virus surge

The U-16 Vijay Merchant Trophy has been postponed due to the recent surge in Covid-19 cases in India.

In its email to all its affiliated units on Thursday, the Indian cricket board’s secretary Jay Shah, informed that domestic cricket had started off well, with the completion of 748 matches till date, however, the sudden spike in cases has forced the board to postpone its junior tournament.

“The cases across lndia are spiralling and despite being a large number of adults doubly vaccinated, they have still been infected. We have been closely monitoring the situation in lndia and across the world, and it is estimated that the caseload will shoot up in the immediate future if the situation is not controlled now,” Shah wrote an email, accessed by The Indian Express.

Further adding, “After consulting experts and seeking views of the medical teams and operations team, it has been decided that keeping health and safety in mind, the U16 Vijay Merchant Trophy is postponed for this season.”

As per Shah, the primary reason is that the participants are still not vaccinated and as such, are vulnerable. The BCCI doesn’t want to take any risks with its junior cricketers.

“We must exercise caution and not be adventurous and put the health of our talented cricketers at grave risk,” he pointed out.

60 Bone Tests to determine age fraud conducted

The BCCI game development manager Dhiraj Malhotra had earlier sent a letter to all state units on Wednesday informing them that Indian board had decided to allow 60 U-16 players whose bone test result showed 16.5. Malhotra reasoned that Vijay Merchant is played every September, however, due to pandemic there has been delay in conducting the TW3 bone test.

Malhotra in its letter to all units wrote, ” These bone tests happen 2 months prior to the tournament, usually starting from July of every year. This year the tournament is being played after COVID induced gap of one year and also is delayed by 4 months from its usual timing. Therefore the bone tests were also delayed by 3 – 4 months and they started in the last week of November and went upto 20th December.”

As per Malhotra’s letter many players were found above the threshold limit of 16.5 years in the bone test. Considering the delay in conducting the bone test and tournament, a few associations had requested BCCI to review all the borderline (16.5) cases, so that players don’t lose out because of no fault of theirs for this 4 month delay.

“BCCI, therefore requested all its external consultants to review all the 16.5 marked cases. Ratings were revised for about 60 players by these external consultants, across all the associations,” allowing 60 players to take part in under-16 tournaments.

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