In a radical step by senior selection committee of J&K Cricket Association, it has dropped four senior cricketers from Ranji trophy team and brought in Under-19 youngsters in their place in team.
Sending a strong message to J&K senior cricketers that performance will be given priority over reputation, Rashid Patel-led JKCA selection committee has dropped four top senior cricketers from J&K Ranji Trophy team. In their place it has brought in four Under-19 cricketers who have been doing well for J&K in Under-19 tournament.
Selectors have dropped senior batsman Ian Dev Singh, all-rounder Waseem Raza, wicketkeeper Obaid Haroon and batsman Parnav Gupta. In their place it has selected Mumbai Indians IPL recruit Rasikh Salam, Kanhiaya Wadhwan, Musaif Aijaz and Govind Sharma. It is for the first time that so many Under-19 level cricketers are part of the Ranji Trophy team as selectors had already included Qamran Iqbal in the last match. Iqbal went on to score 67 run knock for J&K on debut.
Though other three players have been in and out of the J&K Ranji trophy team over the year, it is first time that once mainstay of J&K batting Ian Dev Singh has been the shown door. Apart from a century against Rajasthan, Ian has not been able to show the consistency in good performances that was expected him. Ian has been delivered below par for last couple of seasons now.
The four Under-19 cricketers who have been included in the squad have all been brilliant for J&K in the ongoing Under-19 Cooch Behar Trophy.
Kanhaiya Wadhawan has scored 365 runs for J&K in five matches in which he has also scored a ton. Musaif Ajaz has scored 333 in four matches in which he scored an unbeaten ton and has average of 66.60 for J&K in Cooch Behar Trophy. The Mumbai Indians member and rookie pace sensation of J&K Rasikh Salam has bagged 19 wickets for J&K in the Cooch Behar trophy and Govind Sharma has bagged 17 wickets in same event.
J&K owing to consistent poor performances in Ranji Trophy stand at eighth place on points table in Elite Group C group. They have played seven matches in which it has suffered four defeats. They have been able to win two and draw one.
Team official said that it could be possible only as the five selection committee comprise of outside State selectors.
"It wouldn't not have been possible if there would have been local selectors. This is major step and local selectors always remain under pressure to select players on reputation and influence. As no one knows these selectors as they do, they just select players on the basis of performance," said official.
"This step will send strong message in cricket fraternity of State that performance in major events now is criteria for being part of Ranji Trophy team. They now don't have to wait to senior getting retired and fill their place. It is just performance in events that will be considered for the selection. Perform and get a chance to be part of senior team," he said.
Official said that another thing that outside selectors have done is that they have abolished quota system in J&K Cricket.
"This time you can see players from any region dominating senior team and it is no more fifty-fifty for the two provinces of the State. If players of particular region are doing well they can fill whole team and region doesn't guarantee you spot in the team," he added.
J&K will play its next Ranji match against Assam starting Sunday at Barsapara Cricket Stadium, Guwahati.