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Harris Shield: MSSA's new MCA registration rule leaves kids in a fix

The Mumbai Schools Sports Association's (MSSA) new rule of having players register with the city's parent body of cricket — the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) — if they want to be eligible to play in the Giles Shield and Harris Shield inter-school tournaments has left budding cricketers in a fix.

Dejected players of OLPS are seen in their tent after the Harris Shield match was called off yesterday at the Azad Maidan. Pic/Atul Kamble
Dejected players of OLPS are seen in their tent after the Harris Shield match was called off yesterday at the Azad Maidan. Pic/Atul Kamble 

Yesterday, three teams — Thakur Shyamnarayan (Kandivali), Smt M D Bhatia (Ghatkopar) and OLPS (Chembur) were stopped from playing their second round matches, as their players did not have MCA registration cards.

Blame game
One of the OLPS players blamed their physical education teacher T Ramdas for the mess. "We have been reminding Ramdas sir since July to get our MCA cards done, but he just kept delaying things.

Today, despite having practised for four months, it was so humiliating to be told that we are ineligible to participate in the tournament."

Though OLPS may have missed out due to an internal error from their official, some parents of players put the blame on MCA.

"On the MCA form, there was a clear mention that the player needs to either have a ration card, an Aadhar card, a passport or an electricity bill for their residence proof. We had the other documents but were still denied an MCA card as we did not have a ration card," said a parent, who did not wish to be named.

Reacting to the inconvenience caused to players, MCA joint secretary Nitin Dalal said he was not aware of the issue. "If the parent had any problem, he should have brought it to our notice. We would have surely helped them. We will look into this matter," he said.

Laidback attitude
Meanwhile, MSSA cricket secretary HS Bhor blamed the situation on the laidback attitude of schools and coaches. "We had sent a circular to all schools on July 23 that the MCA registration card is a must for all players to play the Giles and Harris Shield tournaments.

We permitted teams to play their first round matches with a warning to schools that action would be taken if they do not get their players registered for the second round," he said.

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