The dates of prestigious under-14 Giles Shield Elite Division inter-school cricket tournament clashed with another U-14 tournament -- the Ultratech Cup. The three-day semi-finals of the Giles Shield between Rizvi Springfield (Bandra) and Don Bosco (Matunga) and between IES VN Sule Guruji and Hansraj Morarji started yesterday while the first round of Ultratech Cup matches were also scheduled on January 10-11. This meant the players selected to play for the Mumbai teams (Vengsarkar XI, Gavaskar XI, Shastri XI and Tendulkar XI) are left with the option of playing in one of the tournaments. Abrail Sayyed (left) and Sidak Singh at Cross Maidan yesterday.
Mumbai School Sports Association (MSSA), the organisers of the Giles Shield, have refused to take the responsibility for this odd occurrence. Moreover, MSSA secretary HS Bhor blamed the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) for the clash of dates despite full knowledge of the Giles Shield draw.
"We had submitted the Giles Shield draw in advance to MCA. If there was proper co-ordination, this situation could have been avoided and the boys would have got chance to play in both tournaments. But that's not the case now," Bhor said.
On the other hand, MCA tournament secretary Dawood Patel said that the tournament committee did not endorse the dates of the Ultratech Cup. "We have no any say in the Ultratech Cup as the tournament committee didn't give a go-ahead to the dates. They have scheduled the tournament on their own."
Rizvi Springfield coach Raju Pathak put the onus on Ultratech Cup organisers for this mix-up. "The schedule for Giles was decided five months in advance, but it is the Ultratech Cup which has been accommodated at the last minute. But I'm glad that a player can decide which tournament he wants to play in.
I don't have any problem if my players, Aakash Malbari and Sidak Singh figure in the Giles Shield, while Prithvi Shaw, Usama Parkar, Azim Shaikh and Bipul Rathod, who have been selected to play for Mumbai teams --take part in the Ultratech Cup. Had there been one tournament at a time, players could have got a chance to play in both," Pathak rued.
Meanwhile, Ultratech Cup organiser Dilip Vengsarkar rubbished claims that the tournament was accommodated at the last minute. "As the BCCI-conducted intra-state U-14 tournament is slated in Baroda from 22 January, we had to schedule the Ultratech Cup around this time only. For the past eight years, we have been conducting the tournament around this time only. Of the 60 players selected to play in the Ultratech Cup, only five of them are playing in the Giles Shield," Vengsarkar said.