Post Mortem

Cricket, Naga-lim and chief minister-2

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 4/11/2019 1:27:37 PM IST

 Life should be simple; like lining up Nagaland cricket officials and barking “YOU ARE FIRED.” Long after news channels and print media in India carried allegations of corruption in cricket, Nagaland Cricket Association (NCA) officials were forced to issue a rebuttal that they “are unaware of any such matter,” where miscreants are alleged to have promised Ranji berths to Delhi based players in the cricket teams of different states including Nagaland. The NCA may not be ‘aware’ of the matter but its parent body, the BCCI, has already filed  a FIR with Delhi police on the complaint of a certain Kanishk Gaur and two others who were promised Ranji berths in Nagaland team. Kanishk actually went on to play two matches for Nagaland but felt necessary to approach the BCCI because he wasn’t allowed to play 3 more matches as promised. According to Delhi Police, it’s a multi-Crore scam. 

So while the NCA plays ostrich in the sand, the Delhi police is investigating the allegation that Kanishk Gaur was “Called to meet with the head coach of Nagaland cricket team and some members of the board. He was asked to pay 15 Lakhs for 5 matches” (Source: Hindustan Times, firstpost.com, Indian Express). To jog the memory of Nagaland cricket, a picture of Kanishk Guar is circulating in social media where he is seen with few so-called ‘Nagaland’ players all wearing Nagaland jersey. Amen. 

To be fair, under BCCI rules, 3 guest players are allowed to play for the state associations. Theoretically, if the NCA is rich enough, Sachin Tendulkar can be lured out of retirement to play for the state. But the real issue is, why is it that so many players from outside Nagaland are clamouring to play for the state? Is it a new found love for Nagaland or is it far more insidious than we naive Nagas think it to be? 

Rohit Jhanjhariya, Paras Sehrawat, Nitesh Lochab, Rachit Bhatia, Rahul Sharma, VKK Reddy, Aditya, Dhavanath, Bhavik Patel and AJ Kaushik. These players are not from Nagaland but they managed to represent the state in Ranji trophy matches (1st class, four day test matches), Vijay Hazare matches (1st class, one day matches) and the Syed Mushtaq Ali (T20) matches.  So how did these 10 outsider players manage to get into the system, the playing XI?   

Look at the Ranji team composition for Nagaland Vs Pondicherry (Source; Cricbuzz). Jonathan Rongsen (C), KB Pawan (wk), Nitesh Lohchab, Paras Sehrawat, Rachit Bhatia, Hokaito, Abrar Kazi, Pawan Suyal, Sedezhalie Rupreo, Tahmeed Rahman and Imliwati Lemtur.  Here, excluding Tahmeen, a resident of Nagaland, there’re 6 outsiders in the playing XI. 

Another example: T20 game, Nagaland Vs Jammu & Kashmir (Source: Cricbuzz). There are a total of 8 outsiders. Rohit Jhanjhariya, Sedezhalie Rupreo, Nitesh Lochab, Rongsen Jonathan (c), Mughavi Wotsa, Rahul Sharma, KB Pawan (wk), Abrar Kazi, Pawan Suyal, Tahmeed Rahman, Imliwati Lemtur, Toni Chishi, Paras Sehrawat, Inakato Zhimomi, & Rachit Bhatia.

So the Kaun Banega Crorepatti question is why hardly any Naga faces in Nagaland cricket? Before answering this question, let’s look at the BCCI pay structure for players:

Player Fees for playing XI Fees for reserves
Senior-Ranji Trophy Rs.35,000 per day x 4 days 
= Rs. 140,000 per match Half of Rs. 140,000
Senior-Vijay Hazare Trophy Rs. 35,000 per match
Under-23 Rs. 17,500 per day Rs.  8,750 per day
Under-19 Rs. 10,500 per day Rs. 5,250 per day
Under-16 Rs. 3,500 per day Rs. 1,750 per day
Note: T-20 fee is 50% of the respective category. 
So far, starting November 2018, Nagaland has played 8 Ranji and 8 Vijay Hazare matches against Manipur, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Sikkim, Mizoram, Meghalaya, and Pondicherry. For T20 the oppositions were Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, J&K, Delhi, Manipur, Jharkhand.
So If a player is paid Rs.1,40,000 per match for Ranji, his overall Ranji earning would be Rs. 1,40,000 x 8 matches = Rs. 11.20 Lakhs. If the same players – in NCA players are not dropped, simply banished if you are good – played 8 Vijay Hazare Trophy matches, they would earn another Rs.35,000 x 8 matches = Rs. 2.80 L each.  Again, the seniors played 6 T20 matches @Rs. 17,500 per player per match, which is, 6 x 17,500 = Rs. 105,000. Therefore the total earnings of a single player (Ranji+Vijay+T20) from last November till date would be roughly Rs. 15 Lakhs! This is not including the DAs and we still talk about lost opportunities. Besides, the BCCI takes care of fooding, lodging and travel expenses through the state associations. 
The outsider player conundrum is simple. Players representing the states are getting minimum Rs. 15 Lakhs each from the BCCI. To cut a long story short, would Nagaland cricket officials benefit if local boys start playing for the state? First of all, locals are not aware that there’s so much money in the game. Secondly, no local boy will shell out 15 Lakhs (nor Nagaland cricket entertain this idea from a local) to get into the team. Thirdly, Nagaland cricket is a very tight coterie; with some of the officials fit for Lifetime Award; and their monopoly is absolute. But for the outsider who drinks, eats and sleeps cricket the stakes are very high. It’s a life investment that they’re making in Nagaland cricket; and the ‘investment’ is easily recovered from the BCCI. There’s always this off-chance that one may be selected for Team India. Secondly, once a player gets the BCCI/State/Ranji-trophy-player tag, the players are guaranteed admission into some of the best colleges or universities in India and even abroad, with scholarships to boot. Thirdly, once you’re a Ranji player – never mind that you were in the Reserve the whole season – one’s resume becomes impressive, allowing for employment in PSUs, Central services/Para military, etc. Given the vast scope for corruption why should Nagaland cricket promote local Naga players? 
The NCA can easily explain away that 3 of the outsiders are ‘guest players.’ However, for the remaining outsider players this explanation will not suffice because a player has to be a resident of the state in order to be in the playing XI or team XV. The names - Rohit Jhanjhariya, Paras Sehrawat, Nitesh Lochab, Rachit Bhatia, Rahul Sharma, VKK Reddy, Aditya, Dhavanath, Bhavik Patel, AJ Kaushik, etc., are not only non-locals but clearly outsiders. Therefore, it can only mean that some colony or villages in Dimapur must have issued resident NOCs to these players attested by the district administration (or even forged) in which case it’s a clear-cut case of cheating and forgery. The NCA SHOULD PRODUCE THE DOMICILE CERTIFICATES OF ALL THESE PLAYERS. 
As the head of the NCA, the Chief Minister should line up his cricket officials and say “YOU ARE FIRED.” No sir, no investigation is required because we know what happens in investigations. And anyway, the Delhi Police is on the lookout. The mere overwhelming presence of outsiders in the teams backs up the FIR filed by the BCCI. The much anticipated ‘firing’ is the Change we Nagas are looking forward to.
Nota bene: Post hue and cry, NCA officials are hurriedly conducting open selection trials but only pure locals may apply, or so it seems. 
In Naga Interest
Joel Naga

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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