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India players barred from playing multiple U-19 World Cups

The BCCI has decided that players who have represented India in one Under-19 World Cup cannot take part in another edition of the tournament, even if they meet the age criteria to do so. The board approved this suggestion of its junior committee in the BCCI working committee meeting on Friday.

The working committee has also decided that players who enter the system at the Under-19 stage can play a maximum of two seasons of Under-19 cricket.

Though the BCCI did not specify the reasons behind the move, it can be seen as an attempt to crack down on overage players, which has been a thorny issue over a number of years in Indian cricket. The former India captain Rahul Dravid, who is now head coach of the India A and India Under-19 teams, had made age-fudging a central topic of his MAK Pataudi Memorial Lecture in December 2015.

"I think of this overage business as dangerous and even toxic and to me, gives rise to a question: If a child sees his parents and coaches cheating and creating a fake birth certificate, will he not be encouraged to become a cheat? He is being taught to lie by his own elders," Dravid had said. "At 14, it may be in the matter of the age criteria, at 25 it may be fixing and corruption. How are the two different in any way? In both cases, is it not blatant cheating?"

A number of players have represented India at more than one Under-19 World Cup. Three members of their squad in 2016 - Avesh Khan, Sarfaraz Khan and Ricky Bhui - had also played in the 2014 edition. Examples from the past include Ravindra Jadeja (2006 and 2008) and Vijay Zol (2012 and 2014).