Rasikh’s ban an eye opener for future aberrations in sports

Rajesh Dhar
JAMMU, June 21: The 2-year ban imposed on Jammu and Kashmir young paceman Rasikh Salam by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will serve an eye opener for all such aberrations in sports in the State as nobody will try to commit such (age-fudging) mistake in future.
Rasikh’s career might have come to a grinding halt due to falsification of his birth date, but he is lucky to escape with only a two-year suspension for the offence as the BCCI has decided not to pursue any criminal case and just banned the youngster for a period of two years.
Otherwise, the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) had discussed during its meeting earlier on May 18, 2018, the issue of age-fraud in cricket. Two decisions with regard to age-fraud were taken-One, the players who are found (after a proper enquiry) to have submitted false/tampered birth certificates will be banned from all BCCI tournaments for two seasons-Second, the BCCI may also initiate criminal action against the concerned player and/or any other person responsible for submitting false/tampered birth certificates.
“We are not going to pursue any criminal case against Salam. The rule is quite clear that anyone tampering with ‘date-of-birth’ or ‘place-of-issue’ will be banned for a period of two years. The CoA had discussed ‘age verification’ in the meeting but BCCI felt that in this case there was no need to file a criminal complaint,” BCCI General Manager (Cricket Operations) Saba Karim had said.
“This is very unfortunate development. Two years is a long period in a budding players’ career. But this decision at the same time will act as a deterrent for other players so that they may not commit a similar mistake and put their careers at risk.” said Ranjeet Kalra, senior cricketer, who has remained associated with the (BCCI) as Member of National Junior Cricket Committee.
Now, the parents or the guardians of the sportspersons will think twice before submitting the documents of their wards with the Sports Associations.
“The questions with regard to age fudging or tempering with date of birth certificates or other allied documents, have always been on the rise in sports fraternity the world over. One complaining for the other’s age has been a custom in sports in J&K. However, all the Associations, yet to have a fool-proof system to scrutinize the age-proof documents properly. All the Sports Associations in the State need to constitute ‘Age Scrutinising Committees’ so that a system is put in place to check any such misadventures in future. Then, if at all, there is any aberration, the Committee should also be held responsible at par with the player. The parents, teachers and the School authorities have a larger responsibility to orient the youngsters in this regard for good health of the sporting system,” said Secretary of one of the prominent Sports Association of J&K on the condition of anonymity.
It is has been observed that some people are making frequent complaints about the fake date of birth certificates produced by the sportspersons to enable them to be eligible for a particular age group. However, such complaints may or may not be based on facts. So, there is a dire need to check the eligibility of such players with comprehensive system and at the same time check the credibility of the complainants as well.
“It is always fair to lodge healthy complaints, but it is totally unfair to lodge false complaints. It has been learnt that some people are lodging false complaints against some players on the direction of others for vested interests. After proper verification of the documents of these players at all levels, the complainant if found wrong, should be taken to task to face the criminal proceedings. Otherwise, such people, for self projection will continue to lodge false complaints against anybody, thereby jeopardizing the careers of genuine players. Such people ought to be taught a lesson,” said a sports enthusiast while giving vent to his feelings and expressing anonymity.
According to media reports, it was Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA), which brought this matter of discrepancy in age to the BCCI after they were informed about it by the J&K Board of School Education.
“There was a discrepancy in the age by about 6-7 months in the certificate he submitted to the school board and papers submitted to us. We immediately forwarded the matter to the BCCI for them for further action in this regard,” said JKCA CEO Syed Ashiq Hussain Bukhari.
Asked if JKCA will appeal this two-year ban imposed by the BCCI, Bukhari said, “The BCCI rules in this matter are quite clear. Salam or his parents made the mistake in this case and they will have to bear the consequences for it. The rules are in place and it’s fair for everyone.”
The JKCA CEO felt that young Salam was bearing the consequences for someone else’s fault. “It’s clear that Rasikh is too young. The parents or his guardians should have been careful and ensured that nothing like this happened. However, it’s disappointing that Rasikh will be banned for two years,” Bukhari said.
The young paceman from Kulgam district in J&K burst into the limelight when he gave brilliant performances in Cooch Behar U-19 Tournament, bowled brilliantly against formidable Tamil Nadu in Vijay Hazare One-Day Tournament and took 7 wickets in the two First Class matches in his debut season, before IPL-12 champions Mumbai Indians bought him for Rs 20 lakh. Although he played in only one game for MI, Salam impressed everyone with his swing & pace and was also picked for the Under-19 earlier this month for a one-day tri-series in England.