BCCI keeps Afghanistan, Nepal waiting
The BCCI has kept the Afghanistan Cricket Board and Cricket Association of Nepal waiting for at least six months since receiving requests from both teams to use the training facilities and technical expertise in India.
While the BCCI has not tabled the proposals in any of its meetings, the two neighbours- whose teams have caught the imagination of the cricket world in the recent past- remain positive about a favourable reply from the BCCI. Both the ACB and CAN have been requesting the BCCI to help raise the profile of cricket in their respective countries, but despite their assurance of helping associate nations, the BCCI is yet to pay any heed to the requests.
"When I was in Mumbai for Sachin Tendulkar's 200th Test (in November 2013), I had a meeting with select BCCI officials and we expressed our desire to use the infrastructure and technical expertise in India that would help our players immensely," Dr Noor Murad, ACB chief executive, told ESPNcricinfo from UK. "So far, there has been no response. But we are optimistic that the BCCI will help our endeavour of raising the profile of the game in Afghanistan as well as help the international image of the country, which had been engulfed in war for so many years."
Ashok Nath Pyarkuryal, the CAN secretary, was also hopeful for a positive response from the BCCI. "Ever since the Asian Cricket Council in Malaysia last year, we have been requesting the BCCI to let us use the modern facilities and possibly allow some of our teams to participate in a few tournaments in India," Pyakuryal said. "We are waiting to hear from them. The CAN representative also reminded the BCCI officials about the same on the sidelines of the ACC finance committee meeting in Chennai earlier this week, and they have promised to look into it."
The BCCI has preferred to maintain a silence on the issue. Secretary Sanjay Patel said he did not "wish to comment" on the issue since it was an internal matter of the BCCI. However, ESPNcricinfo understands that never in the last six months have these requests been put before the working committee to allow the decision-making body of the BCCI to decide on whether or not they should lend a helping hand. It is believed that a few high-ranking BCCI officials are averse to the idea of letting the game grow beyond the Full Members.
Murad, though, is still hopeful that the BCCI will help out Afghanistan. "Had it not been for the BCCI's initiative, Afghanistan would not have been included in the Asia Cup," he said. "Ours is a unique case in the world of cricket, and with the situation that we are dealing with back home, we hope that BCCI helps us out like a big brother. In fact, we have also been pursuing this matter with the Indian Embassy in Afghanistan and the ambassador has promised us help."
Till last year, many touring teams used to travel to various state associations and private academies to hone their skills. However, ever since the England Lions trained at the Dr DY Patil Sport Academy in Mumbai during India's home series against England in 2012, paving a way for some of the injured England players to regain fitness, the BCCI has disallowed any of its members to host overseas teams without prior permission from the parent body.
Focusing their attention towards developing nations has been one of the biggest talking points in the proposed ICC financial restructuring - planned by the board of India, England and Australia - that would come into effect in June. However, many of the Associate members have expressed concerns on whether the remodeling would be in their favour.
After the ACC finance committee earlier this week, ACC chief exectuvie Ashraful Haque had emphasized on the scope for development in countries like Afghanistan and Nepal.
"There is so much talent in Afghanistan," Haque told the Hindu . "Nepal is another country with tremendous potential for growth. If you see, four of the six non-Test playing teams in the 2014 World T20 came from Asia. They were Afghanistan, Nepal, UAE and Hong Kong. In the 2015 ODI World Cup, two of the four non-Test playing teams, Afghanistan and UAE, will be from Asia.
"The scope for development of cricket in Afghanistan, Nepal and China is tremendous since the ethnic population plays and supports the game there. In countries such as the UAE and Hong Kong, the expatriates play the game."
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo