ICC responds to Nepal Under-19 skipper 'overage' controversy
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has responded to the controversy surrounding Nepal U-19 skipper Raju Rijal after he was accused of being over the designated age of participation at the ICC U-19 World Cup by Mumbai Ranji Trophy cricketer Kaustubh Pawar, Wisden India reports. The sport’s governing body said that there was no evidence to back the claims made by Pawar and as such refused to take any action against the Nepalese cricketer.
The national boards of all the participating nations at the ICC Under-19 World Cup are required to authenticate and submit documents such as passport copies, birth certificates, and completed age-determination forms as proof that the cricketers representing the respective nations are within the allowed age limit. The ICC released a statement to clarify Rijal’s situation and said that all the documents submitted were believed to be genuine.
“The ICC has spoken with the chief executive of the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), concerned player and the Nepal team manager, and has again reviewed the documents which were submitted by the CAN before the start of the competition. These documents include copies of his passport and birth certificate, which were issued by the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, as well as a signed age determination declaration.
“As such, the ICC has no evidence to suggest that the passport and birth certificate, issued by the Nepalese government/authorities, are not genuine or that the statement provided by the player is false,” the cricket body said.
Sarfaraz Khan’s father also accuses Rijal of being overage
Naushad Khan, the father of India U-19 cricketer Sarfaraz Khan and someone who runs his own coaching academy, also backed Pawar’s claims saying that he found it hard to believe that Rijal was representing Nepal, as he himself had coached the cricketer before he was selected for the Mumbai under-15 team a number of years ago.
“Our effort paid off when he was picked up for the Mumbai Under-15 squad. But I am surprised to know that he is leading Nepal in the Under-19 World Cup,” Naushad has been quoted as saying by The Times of India. “It is unfair on kids who are genuinely Under-19.”
Nepal team manager offers full backing to Rijal
Responding for the first time since the allegation was raised, Rijal said that he was unaware of the statement made by Pawar as he was not active on social media – the platform used by the Mumbai cricketer to raise his complaint.
“I don’t have any idea about this. I am not in social media. So I cannot comment on this,” Rijal said.
Sudeep Sharma, Nepal’s team manager, also refuted the allegations and suggested that Pawar might have made the claims owing to a personal enmity with Rijal.
“I am aware of this controversy,” Sharma said.
“Raju though has no idea. They are not allowed to be on Facebook or anything. Anyone can write anything on social media. Does he (Pawar) have any evidence? He should produce evidence to back his claim. Maybe he has some problem with Raju.”