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Overage row: We won't field team in Harris Shield next year, says SVIS director

SVIS (Borivli) director Yogesh Patel upset with MSSA’s decision to permit Rizvi Springfield to play semi-finals despite ban on their overage players

Swami Vivekanand International School (Borivli) will not field a team in the Mumbai School Sports Association (MSSA) Harris Shield Elite Div U-16 cricket tourney next year, as they are unhappy with MSSA’s decision to allow Rizvi Springfield to play the semi-finals despite players from the Bandra school found overage following bone tests conducted on Feb 2.

IES Orion’s Siddharth Mohite attempts to pull one during a MSSA Giles Shield tie against Don Bosco (Matunga) at Azad Maidan yesterday. Pics/ATUL KAMBLE
IES Orion’s Siddharth Mohite attempts to pull one during a MSSA Giles Shield tie against Don Bosco (Matunga) at Azad Maidan yesterday. Pics/Atul Kamble

Bone of contention
MSSA had conducted bone tests on a number of SVIS and Rizvi players, after both schools complained against each other for fielding overage players during the Harris Shield last month. SVIS even played their knockout match against Rizvi under protest. Consequently, on Monday, MSSA handed a two-year ban to eight players (four each from of SVIS and Rizvi) following the Feb 2 tests, but permitted Rizvi to play their semi-final against Don Bosco (Matunga). This has not gone down well with the Borivli school.

SVIS director Yogesh Patil (left),  IES Orion coach Ram Patel and Don Bosco coach Rohan Nagwekar (right)
SVIS director Yogesh Patil (left),  IES Orion coach Ram Patel and Don Bosco coach Rohan Nagwekar (right)

SVIS director Yogesh Patel said MSSA’s decision is unfair. “MSSA’s decision has left us shocked. We expected the entire Rizvi team to be banned, and not just the guilty players. That’s what MSSA’s rules state. If players from both teams are overage, then MSSA should ban both teams and pick a third team from the knockout stage to contest the semi-final, and not Rizvi. We will not field a team in Harris Shield next year as parents of our players feel politics is ruining budding cricketers’ careers,” Patel told mid-day yesterday.

IES Orion (Dadar) coach Ram Patil said MSSA should practice what they preach. “If MSSA has made the rules, they should enforce it. Some coaches are ready to go to any extent to ensure their school team wins the title. MSSA should not have allowed Rizvi to play the semis. Such decisions leave younger players demoralised as they end up playing against boys, who are a lot bigger and stronger than them,” said Patil.

Meanwhile, Don Bosco coach Rohan Nagwekar was disappointed to see MSSA delay yet another Harris Shield match due to Rizvi. “Last year, MSSA had delayed our Harris Shield knockout tie because a Rizvi player was found overage. They banned that player and allowed Rizvi to continue. This year too MSSA has done the same thing. This is wrong,” he said.

Remember Dravid’s words
Another coach on condition of anonymity recalled India U-19 coach Rahul Dravid’s warning regarding the overage menace at the grassroot level. “At the Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi Lecture in Delhi las year, Dravid had said that age fudging at junior level is comparable to match fixing at the senior level, and strict action must be taken against all offenders.”

Don Bosco ride on skipper Nikam's ton

Don Bosco’s (Matunga) Chintamani Nikam (above) played the skipper’s role to perfection, scoring 105 to help his team beat IES Orion (Dadar) by 267 runs in a MSSA Giles Shield tie at Azad Maidan yesterday.

Chintamani Nikam
Chintamani Nikam

The Matunga lads posted 309 off the stipulated
45 overs and then bowled out the opposition for just 42 runs

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