Mumbai’s drive against bias in junior cricket: No names, only numbers

May 1, 2017

Mumbai’s drive against bias in junior cricket: No names, only numbers


THE Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has come up with a unique idea to eliminate bias and favouritism in its selection process at the junior level. In the four-day preliminary under-12 trials, which ended Sunday, the MCA did away with identifying cricketers using their names and instead allotted a number to each candidate to be displayed on their jersey. The selectors were also asked to hand over their cellphones to moderators appointed by the association while the selection process was on.

P V Shetty, joint secretary, MCA, told The Indian Express that the new method was adopted to ensure transparency in the selection process. “By giving numbers to players, we have tried to eliminate all bias. There could be a case of a selector getting influenced by a phone call from a coach or a powerful figure. The new system will also neutralise any attempt to pick a cricketer based on club, caste or regional basis,” said Shetty. The process was initiated by MCA’s director of coaching and former Test cricketer Chandrakant Pandit.

Relief for parents
”Many parents had complained before that some players were picked because they had done some jugad (arrangement), or because they knew that man in the MCA or that coach. With this process, we will be able to satisfy parents that the selection is done purely on merit,” said Pandit.

According to the new system, a candidate had to first submit his age proof and residential documents to the MCA’s moderators. Once the paperwork was cleared, the moderators gave a ‘bib’ to the players with the numbers allotted to them displayed on the front and back. The players’ names were not mentioned anywhere, and parents were asked to stand in a distant corner of the field.

An Excel sheet was then given to every selector who had to grade each batsman, spinner and wicket-keeper. Each of the MCA’s four selection venues in Mumbai had four selectors whose remarks were sent in sealed envelopes to Pandit. By evening on the first day, all selectors were asked to match the grades of players. The MCA handed out different ‘bibs’ to those who made the first cut for the following rounds.

After the preliminary rounds, 25 will be picked from each of the selection centres and asked to report at the association’s Bandra Kurla Complex ground. They will then be divided in four teams that will take on each other in matches. Even in these matches, the players will be identified by their numbers on the scoresheet and the final 25 will be picked by a fresh MCA committee comprising under-14 selectors.

“The idea is to get good talent and nurture it. Boys who are 10-11 years old are the base, and if Mumbai’s base is strong, the future will naturally be good. But all credit should go to the MCA and the volunteers who are making this selection possible. It’s a tough job,” said Pandit. Over 1,000 cricketers turned up for the first day of trials on Thursday.

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