India news January 17, 2012

Punjab bars Under-21 players from Twenty20

ESPNcricinfo staff

The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) has barred its Under-21 players from taking part in Twenty20 cricket, including the lucrative IPL. The decision was taken at the state association's Administrative Committee meeting in Mohali on Sunday and will need to be ratified at the next Executive Committee meeting.

The move comes at a time when the IPL has been cited as one of the reasons for India's abject surrender of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia, where the visitors have lost the first three Tests, the last two by an innings. "The idea was being discussed among PCA members for some time now," Sushil Kapoor, the PCA spokesperson, told the Mumbai Mirror. "It was felt that youngsters were losing their focus and were not ready to grind it out during the two, three or four day games."

Punjab is the first state association to restrict its players from the shortest version of the game, and their stand is counter to other associations such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Orissa and Jharkhand that have started their own T20 leagues. The board is aware that some players may not be happy about the decision, but association secretary MP Pandove said it was done in the larger interest of cricket.

"Look, we are the first Association to take this step in the interest of players, many of whom I know will not like it," Pandove told PTI. "We strongly felt that 17 to 21 years are formative years for any player and there should be no distraction. The step which we have taken is in the larger interest of players and the country's cricket as a whole."

Punjab has allowed one exception to their ban. Players who are contracted by BCCI will be allowed to play Twenty20 cricket even if they are under the age of 21.

Former India batsman Vikram Rathour, who is the assistant coach of IPL franchise King's XI Punjab as well as coach of Punjab's Ranji Trophy team, told ESPNcricinfo that he had been spoken to by the PCA before the decision was taken at the meeting. "I wasn't part of the meeting and was spoken about it, principally I agreed to the idea. I think it is a good call. More than people being concerned about young guys getting lots of money from T20 and losing focus, I had cricketing concerns."

He said the players had trouble adjusting from the T20 cricket to four-day games, something he noticed while working with the Punjab team during the week between the end of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 competition league phase and the start of the Ranji Trophy. "At that time, we had been working on getting the players to play the reverse sweep and the upper cut. Then a week later we had to ask them to leave the ball because we had switched to four-day cricket. even the most experienced players found it a struggle, it was too much for the youngsters to adjust."

However, Rathour said that it was possible the PCA may have to make considerations for players who were exceptionally suited for a shorter format of the game, though the principle on which the new rule had come into being was worth sticking with. "I always believe that it is possible that a good player in the long format will be able to switch to the shorter format but it doesn't happen the other way around."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Paul on January 18, 2012, 18:08 GMT

    way to go... proud of punjabis, now of only other states would follow the same pattern..

  • Srinivas on January 18, 2012, 16:56 GMT

    @PratUSA...David Warner was a desperate selection by Aus after Watson got injured and they kicked Katich out. They experimented with other openers and those guys were found out. Warner is good, however, he belted a listless Indian bowling (though he played well against NZ). Warner's case is a one-off instance, for this kid did not even play much first class cricket - only ODs and T20s, before getting into the test team. That happened because Oz were grasping at anything and everything.

  • Dummy4 on January 18, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    A decision to be applauded( if they stick to it) and followed by all other state cricket associations , it should always be your country first and then the rest.

  • Nihit on January 18, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    That's a great step taken by the PCB. The focus of younger players should only be to get their technique right. Once negotiating fast and swing balling has become their second nature, they can participate in all forms of cricket.

    Otherwise we will only be producing the likes of Sehwag and Pathan that dont have any footwork and rely solely on smashing the ball as hard as they can.

  • Anmol on January 18, 2012, 5:09 GMT

    All states should follow Punjab's example.

  • Amit on January 18, 2012, 3:18 GMT

    How about forcing IPL to play under International Rules? Like having longer boundries? I think that would be more constructive.

  • Dummy4 on January 18, 2012, 3:16 GMT

    +ve step for the right reasons! Rest of the boards should follow suit...

  • Balaji on January 18, 2012, 1:42 GMT

    Good decision. I hope other cricket associations in India are watching.

  • TR on January 18, 2012, 0:42 GMT

    If all the states do this, India will never identify a young T20 champion player. Instead of stopping them from playing T20 I would suggest: Let them play but not earn a lot. Pay them proportional to their performance in the longer formats.

  • Arjun on January 18, 2012, 0:23 GMT

    This is a fantastic move! I think T20 has its merits but I totally agree that 17-21 are "formative" years and that young cricketers need to work on their technical skills. I hope other states follow suit and I hope the BCCI doesn't force PCA's hand to recant this move.

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