Indian Premier League February 23, 2008

Wait before you sign, BCCI to junior cricketers

India's U-19 cricketers have been told not to sign any contract until further instructions © Getty Images

The Indian board has clearly instructed all junior cricketers to not sign up for the Indian Premier league on an individual basis until they decide on a procedure to adopt for the same.

The board plans to consult the franchises while deciding a common procedure to adopt while signing up junior domestic cricketers. "An instruction has been sent to all players," said Niranjan Shah, the secretary of the Indian board told Cricinfo. "The BCCI will decide what procedure to adopt for the franchises signing up players."

Contracts that have been signed till now will be deemed null and void. The same automatically holds for 15 of India's U-19 cricketers are currently taking part in the World Cup in Malaysia. The IPL rules dictate that each franchise must have at least four U-22 players in their side, as well as four players from the respective catchments.

It's been learnt that several franchises are unhappy with the manner in which players have been poached - especially with player agents getting involved in the process.

"Too many agents have cropped up and some of the Under-19 players [currently away in the World Cup] are away on tour and already poaching has started," a member of a franchise said. "So it's good that BCCI is considering a ruling to ban any young player from being picked now."

There is also a concern about players being lured with big bucks so early in their careers. A couple of franchises are advocating there be a limit for the amount that can be paid for junior players.

"It's sad that young kids are being exposed to so much money so early," said a representative from another franchise. "What kind of an example are we setting? You have not even played a Test but already you're demanding so much money. Maybe, it would have been better had a price been fixed by the IPL board for these players. It might have solved many problems."

The board is expected to take a decision on the process in a few days time. However, they may be reluctant to do so before the end of the U-19 World Cup (which concludes on March 2) to ensure the youngsters are not distracted during the event.

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo