BCCI to have national selectors attend inter-university final to revive tournament's appeal
In a bid to provide its budding cricketers with an alternative path towards realising their dream of playing for India, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to shift its focus towards college and university-level cricket.
According to Hindustan Times, the BCCI will have its national selectors present in the inter-university final that is to take place in Bhubaneswar, with the match also set to be telecast live.
"We will have the national selectors present for the match, to look at the talent. The final will be telecast live from Bhubaneswar; it's the first time BCCI has taken this initiative. We want to get more into university cricket so that we can get more talent," said BCCI general manager (Operations) Saba Karim, who added that university-level cricket used to be a supply line of talent for Team India until the 1980s, before losing its appeal.
This is not the first time that the world's richest cricketing board has attempted to revive university cricket in India. In a report published on 13 February in The Hindu, the BCCI had taken a decision to 'glamorise' the Vizzy Trophy, the inter-zonal university cricket tournament, with the board planning to televise it while hoping to have some of the best cricketers available for the matches.
"Some of the outstanding talent emerged from inter-university tournaments. The age group tournaments were not so prominent and schools and universities provided the supply line for the selectors," former India cricketer and coach Anshuman Gaekwad had told The Hindu.
Even Anurag Thakur, former BCCI president, had batted for its revival.
"During my playing days the university cricket was still relevant but before that it used to be the stepping stone for the Test and international cricket. Today, it needs overhauling and we will discuss that in the working committee how to revive it. We can think to do something on league basis in T20 format," Thakur was quoted as saying according to a report published last year on The Indian Express.
Some of the most accomplished cricketers to have emerged from inter-university tournaments are Ajit Wadekar, Sunil Gavaskar, Bishan Singh Bedi, Dilip Vengsarkar, Kapil Dev, among others.