BCCI to bear all expenses of NE states' Ranji debut

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By Kushan Sarkar

New Delhi, Aug 1 (PTI) The BCCI will bear the entire cost of the cash-strapped North Eastern states' Ranji Trophy debut, which has been mandated by the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee, a couple of whom will play their home games at neutral venues due to lack of infrastructure.

It has been reliably learnt that Sikkim and Arunachal do not have grounds that will match up to requirements of first-class cricket and will play at neutral venues in neighbouring states.

The BCCI will be providing all the six states with their accreditated NCA coaches, physios and trainers (men's, boys age group, women, girls' age group).

Normally the BCCI units pay for their support staff but for NE states, the parent body will make an exception.

"BCCI has assured that all the state teams will be provided with coaches. We will have to submit our requirements and accordingly they will depute the support staff. The entire expenses will be borne by the board," a representative of the North Eastern state told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

"We will not be paid any grant directly. We need to submit the budget clearly mentioning all the overheads and BCCI directly makes the payments. It is difficult to pinpoint a figure but anything in the range of 4-5 crore needs to be spent per state. Infrastructure and logistics are two key issues," he added.

The representatives of the North Eastern states met the BCCI's Cricket Operations team headed by Saba Karim at the headquarters in Mumbai today.

"Sikkim will be playing their home games in Siliguri while Arunachal Pradesh are likely to play in one of the grounds in Assam. Development of infrastructure was the key issue that was discussed along with streamlining the budget requirements."

"There will be a few matches between the NE states, where teams need to be travelling by train as there are no direct air route. The railway bookings need to be done accordingly," he said.

The NE state representatives also want to have their pre-season camps in Southern states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu due to the prevalent monsoon in the eastern India.

"Meghalaya will have their pre-season camp at Guwahati. Some of the states will find it convenient if camps are held in Tamil Nadu or Karnataka, where they can avail all state of the art facilities."

Another key issue discussed was about the criteria of domicile for all those who want to use the opportunity to get first-class matches under their belt.

"Rules are clear. One needs to show birth certificate, at least two years of employment in those new states, bank account in those states. While three professional players will be allowed (common BCCI rule), we were advised that we should groom our own players, which is a fair call," he added.

However the only expense that BCCI won't pay is the money offered to professional players. Normally, states offer a separate contract apart from BCCI match fees to the professional players.

"If we employ professional players, we will have to pay them extra which is the norm. That money we will need be to arrange as match fees is taken care of by BCCI," he concluded

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Edited by PTI
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