JKCA squashes talented pacer's dreams of playing in England

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) has dashed a talented fast bowler’s hopes of playing club cricket in England by denying him the necessary No Objection Certificate (NOC) required for visa processing allegedly due to internal politics of association.

Mehjoor Ali Sofi (25), a pacer who has represented Jammu and Kashmir in one Ranji Trophy, 4 List A and five T20 matches, was denied NOC by his own state cricket association to play in the Premier Division One for Easton Tigers Bristol in the United Kingdom, starting May 8. “I was invited by Chairman of Easton Tigers Cricket Club to play as an overseas amateur player during the 2016 English season commencing on May 8 until September 4,” Sofi told PTI here.

In his letter to Visa Section of the British Embassy in New Delhi, Chairman of the Club, Mahmood Ahmed, said it would be great to have Sofi in the team. “We have checked his statistics on ESPN Cricinfo and have viewed his videos on Youtube and it would be a great delight to have a first class cricketer from the Ranji Trophy in our team,” Ahmed said.

NOC issues
However, as Sofi approached JKCA for a NOC, he was told that the association would not issue any NOC to him. He said that the secretary, Iqbal Shah, told him to get the ‘NOC’ from the previous association led by former CM Farooq Abdullah. JKCA is currently headed by state’s Minister for Youth Services and Sports Imran Raza Ansari after his team replaced the Abdullah-led faction amid high drama last year.

Admitting that the association denied the NOC to the cricketer, Shah said it was done as no one from the club or the embassy had written to the JKCA. He also said that by denying him a NOC, he wanted to make Sofi realise the mistake of “skipping the Ranji Trophy trials”.

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