Maharasthra Ranji players back over aged Bawne

Maharashtra Ranji Trophy players come out in full support of teammate Ankit Bawne after BCCI dropped the India U-19 skipper for being overage before quadrangular tournament

NKIT Bawne's Maharashtra Ranji Trophy teammates came out in support of the batsman, who paid a heavy price for providing inaccurate birth details. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) yesterday dropped Aurangabad-based Bawne, who was named captain of the India U-19 squad for a quadrangular tournament starting September 27 in Vishakhapatnam.

At Fault?:  Maharashtra batsman Ankit Bawne. File Pic

Bawne's date of birth (December 17, 1992) registered with the BCCI didn't match with the birth details (September 1, 1992) on his passport. Players born before September 1, 1992 are eligible to play in the U-19 category.

His teammates were shocked to learn about his age discrepancy. "It is quite shocking. Ankit is an exceptional batsman and I don't think he has done anything on purpose. There is surely some goof-up in communication.
"In fact, just a few days ago I met him to wish luck for the U-19 tournament. It is sad to hear that he will not be a part of the team anymore," his Maharashtra teammate Kedar Jadhav told MiD DAY.

The BCCI named Unmukt Chand as captain even though Kumar Deobrat of Jharkhand was officially the vice-captain. Karnataka's Shreyas Gopal was named as Bawne's replacement. Another Maharashtra player said Bawne would never cheat. "No way... this cannot happen," was the player's first reaction, who did not wish to be named.

Fair way
"I have known Ankit for a long time now and I am confident he would never cheat. He has always played the game in a fair way. Everyone treats him as a younger brother in the team. "Ankit is a rare talent and deserves to lead the India U-19 side. It would have been a great opportunity for him," said the player.

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