Members of the Bihar Players Association (BPA) have threatened to immolate themselves if the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) fails to recognise the Bihar Cricket Association (BCA) during a Special General Meeting meeting on August 16. The Association have even gone to the extent of seeking the Indian president's help.
In a letter addressed to APJ Abdul Kalam, the president of India, Mrityunjay Tiwari, president of the BPA wrote, "If the recognition to Bihar cricket is not restored in the August 16 meeting of the BCCI, 25 first-class cricketers of the state will immolate themselves outside the venue."
The BCA became defunct in 2000, when the previous BCCI regime, under Jagmohan Dalmiya and Ranbir Singh Mahendra, granted affiliation to Jharkand, a new state carved out of Bihar. However, in other states like Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh from which too new states were carved out, the BCCI continued to recognise the original state associations.
Despite protests, the board refused to change its stance, prompting cricketers like Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the current India wicketkeeper, to move to Jharkhand. However, the present regime under Sharad Pawar has shown some flexibility by recently appointing a three-member panel to review Bihar's status.
It was recommended that Jharkhand be asked to apply for fresh affiliation as an associate unit, and even allow its players to represent Bihar in the domestic competitions till the BCCI grants full membership.
In the past there have been various instances of the Bihar players threatening drastic measures. In September 2004, the BPA staged a hunger strike outside a BCCI meeting, carrying banners protesting the 'step-motherly' treatment meted out to them. Tiwari, a former Bihar Ranji Trophy player, had then said that the board's stubborn stance would seriously affect the future of several talented cricketers in the state.