Shillong, Nov 20: The Khasi Students Union has effectively demanded 100% reservation for Khasi and Garo athletes in all sports teams representing Meghalaya.

The demand was made through a press release attributed to KSU General Secretary Donald Thabah today.

Specifically, the Meghalaya Cricket Association and Meghalaya Basketball Association were mentioned by the pressure group.

As far as cricket is concerned, an MCA team is currently taking part in a national tournament, the Men’s U-25 State A Trophy. Today’s match saw Meghalaya field (if you consider the surnames of the players) two Garos and one Khasi in an 11-member team. It is an indisputable fact that local tribal cricketers are outnumbered by non-tribals in the boys’ and men’s state cricket teams. However, this is not the case in the girls’ and women’s sides, where Khasis and Garos have been in a clear majority.

The MCA has also been at pains to encourage more indigenous youth to take up cricket but has, to TSR’s knowledge, not applied a quota system when it comes to picking the state’s teams.

According to Thabah, it matters not if the non-tribal cricketers are good or even if they win trophies for the state because what is more important is that the indigenous youth are encouraged, uplifted and given a chance to make their sports dreams become reality.

In cricket, at least, quotas have most famously (or infamously) been used in the South African national team. Since 2016 the team has to have an average minimum of six black players in matches over a season. The merits (or lack thereof) of this have been debated ever since.

Cricket in the state has been dominated by non-tribals for ages but this was never a big deal. Now, though, with the BCCI paying handsome salaries for players (to the tune of several lakhs of rupees per player per year) picked in the state teams, this has the potential to become a massive issue.

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