Shillong, Apr 23: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is considering a B Division of the Ranji Trophy to accommodate all the associate states (of which Meghalaya is one) in the national league, The Times of India has reported.

Such a league would see Bihar, Pondicherry, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur compete against each other.

Meanwhile, The Indian Express reported that the technical committee’s chairman, Sourav Ganguly, suggested that Bihar and a combined North East team be included in the top tier.

These ideas were discussed at a meeting of the committee in Kolkata recently, but a final decision can only be made at a general body meeting.

The Supreme Court had earlier ruled that Bihar should play in the Ranji Trophy and the Convener of the North East/Bihar Zone Naba Bhattacharjee then pushed for the five North East states’ participation as well.

In a phone call with TSR today, Bhattacharjee admitted that the five NE states aren’t quite yet up to the mark.

“As far as the Ranji Trophy is concerned, for the next one or two years I suggested to the North East states that we play as a combined team, see where our strengths lie and take a call after that,” Bhattacharjee, who made the case for this in front of the technical committee, said.

Indeed, Meghalaya has a long way to go in getting its cricket team up to scratch. In the BCCI’s U-23 Men’s One-Day League earlier this year Meghalaya lost four of their five games, though the U-16s were better in the Vijay Merchant Trophy, where they won three of their five three-day matches, which were all held in Shillong. In both tournaments Meghalaya played against the other teams in the NE/Bihar Zone.

Bhattacharjee said that the technical committee’s recommendations have been forwarded to the working committee, but as the latter shares much of the same membership as the former, its approval is expected and the recommendations will likely go through on the nod at the general body meeting. The process should be completed by the end of June, Bhattacharjee added.

If the two-division idea is implemented, there will most probably be a system in place to ensure promotion to the top division once the associates have proven themselves over the long term.

Coaching-cum-selection camp

Meanwhile, the coaching-cum-selection camp to be conducted by staff of the BCCI’s National Cricket Academy, in order to finalise the North East/Bihar Zonal Cricket Academy, began today for U-16 and U-19 boys and U-19 girls in Shillong, Dimapur and Imphal, the Meghalaya Cricket Association informed.

Altogether 25 players selected earlier in each age category by the junior selection committee in Shillong on 4th March will be attending the 25-day camp, which ends on 17th May.

The selection committee will finally pick 15 players in the three age groups for an advanced two-month long coaching camp, including inter-zonal matches in Bangalore and other centres of the country.

From Meghalaya six players have been selected in the each of the two boys’ categories, while four players from the state are in the girls’ category.

(TSR representative photo)

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