Indian domestic season 2008-09 August 31, 2008

BCCI fixes deadline for registration of foreign players

Vikram Solanki played for Rajasthan in the 2006-07 Indian domestic season, and qualifies as a foreign player under the BCCI's new regulations as well © Getty Images
The BCCI has fixed September 15 as the deadline for state associations to register foreign cricketers as 'guest players' for the 2008-09 domestic season. The board's technical committee had, on Saturday, decided to allow each association to select a maximum of four outstation players - one of whom can be a foreigner - in their squads.

The board reiterated that it had increased the limit on guest players by one, but only three of them could figure on the final XI. "There was a request from a member association [to increase the player count] ," Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI's chief administrative officer, told Cricinfo. "After discussions, the count was increased from three to four, but the playing XI will continue to have three guest players only [as was the case till last season].

"The format remains the same and now there is a clear definition about who qualifies as a foreign player," Shetty said. According the board's new stipulations, a foreign player can only be selected if he has played a minimum of 10 Tests or 20 ODIs.

Explaining the qualification norms for foreign players, Shetty said: "The technical committee said that if you are talking about people from abroad helping in improving our standards, then they should have played for their country."

However, the Maharashtra Cricket Association [MCA] has expressed disappointment with the rules regarding foreign players. "If this the board's decision, which was taken based on collective wisdom, by this criteria neither Shaun Marsh nor Ajantha Mendis can be recruited," Ajay Shirke, the MCA president, said.

Shirke's concern is understandable, since, a month back, the MCA had revealed its plans to recruit the Bangladesh spinner Enamul Haque Jr and Sujeewa de Silva, the left-arm fast bowler from Sri Lanka, as their outstation players for the upcoming season. But now, the MCA may have to make do with just Enamul, while Silva does not qualify for selection as he has played only three Tests and no ODIs.

Gautam Dasgupta, a close aide of Jagmohan Dalmiya, the former president of the BCCI and the current head of the Cricket Association of Bengal, supported the board's move to have a criterion for the selection of foreign players. "The player needs to have a certain stature since we are getting [sic] him as a professional."

Regarding foreign players' payments, the board said it will be borne by the association in question since the contract will be between the two.

The most recent foreign cricketers to have played in the Indian domestic circuit are Vikram Solanki and Kabir Ali, who represented Rajasthan in the 2006-07 seasons, and Nayan Doshi, who was with Saurashtra for four seasons between 2001 and 2005. But only Solanki meets the current criterion set by the board.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo