New Delhi: In an unfortunate turn of events for Jammu and Kashmir cricketers, the two rival factions of administrators in the state are reportedly conducting their respective selection trials for the forthcoming Ranji Trophy season.
According to a report in the Indian Express, both factions of Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) – one headed by former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and the other by incumbent Sports Minister in Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's Peoples Democractic Party (PDP) government, Imran Raza Ansari – have warned players with dire consequences if they were to attend the trials held by their respective rivals.
This strange development has forced state cricketers to take cautious steps and are hoping for an early resolution to the impasse, which certainly has the wherewithal to compromise their careers.
The report quoted Samiullah Beigh, a seasoned fast bowler, as saying, “Majority of the boys are going with the group which has occupied the JKCA headquarters. There are few players who are attending the other faction’s trials. We keep getting phone calls saying idhar aao-udhar aaoo."
"How can we attend two separate camps at same time? We are only human. I’m hoping that this issue is sorted out at the earliest. One faction (the one he’s attended) has already announced its probables list, the other is still conducting trials,” the 34-year-old Beigh added.
It all began with the JKCA election in July, in which Ansari ousted the veteran politician Abdullah by a vote of 44 in the 64-member association, ending 35-year-old rule by the National Conference chairman. The remaining 20 who supported Abdullah, had however boycotted the election and even moved the court.
Subsequently, the poll results were put on hold by a bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court amid political row and it had passed an order stating that Abdullah will continue as JKCA president.
Interestingly, a J&K High Court bench of Justice Bansi Lal Bhat last week issued notice to the state government to restrain from interfering into JKCA affairs at the behest of Ansari.
Besides, after hearing on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by two cricketers, the High Court on September 3 ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the multi-crore scam which hit the state cricket association in 2012.
A division bench of Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice B L Bhat asked the country's premier investigating agency to complete the probe into the JKCA scam, which many believe runs up to Rs. 113 crore, within six months.
And one of the respondents is Abdullah. The scam surfaced during the Abdullah's reign as the president in 2012. The then JKCA chairman Muhammad Aslam Goni alleged that the association general secretary Saleem Khan and treasurer Ahsan Mirza had siphoned off the fund meant for promotion of game.
The uncertainties surrounding the state of affairs in JKCA is expected the hit hard players' preparation for their upcoming domestic season. They had surprised everyone by beating 40-time champions Mumbai in Group A Ranji Trophy cricket match at the Wankhede Stadium last December.