Around 50 Kashmir cricketers, who are participating in the ongoing under-23 selection trials in Jammu have been allegedly left in lurch by J&K Cricket Association.
" From the day one of the trials these cricketers have been arranging accommodation, food and other expenses in Jammu on their own. The JKCA has refused to provide them the facilities as selectors have not been able to announce the shortlist. Due to the closure of the Srinagar-Jammu highway these players have been left high and dry as they have to manage their expenses on their own," said a cricketer.
He said that when players reported the matter to JKCA officials, they were assured that accommodation would be arranged as soon as the shortlist is announced. However, it has been nearly a week since then but nothing has happened till date.
"The richest sports body in the state has left us at Almighty's mercy. It was JKCA that invited us for the trials and then they failed to provide us with the facilities," said a cricketer.
Another cricketer said that they have already spent huge money on their accommodation and food in Jammu during the trial period and there is no end to the selection process. "We have exhausted all our resources. It is too difficult time for us and we are not even able to focus on our game. If JKCA was not in position to provide facilities to us then should not have held trials here in the first place," he said.
The players are also questioning the wisdom of JKCA to conduct trials for Kashmir province players in Jammu. "JKCA told us that they can't provide facilities to all the players before shortlist is announced. Our question for them is then they could have arranged trials for Kashmir province players in Kashmir itself," they added.
Some of the players said that they wanted to return home midway but couldn't do that either due to blockade of national highway. "We are helpless as we can't even return home. Because of JKCA we are stuck in Jammu and have to suffer," they said.
The players also said that while players are living on their own expenses selectors who delayed the list are enjoying the JKCA perks apart from the other facilities. "Why would selectors announce team and conduct selection trials in Kashmir itself. They get air travel facility from Srinagar to Jammu and are getting TA/DA from JKCA. They are also living on JKCA expenses in Jammu. It is we players who are suffering," they said.
When contacted JKCA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Syed Ashiq Bukhari said that JKCA is itself helpless as selectors haven't announced the shortlist. "We can't provide facilities to so many players. Once selectors announce the shortlist, we will provide all the facilities to cricketers. It was open trials and there are around 52 cricketers from Kashmir and it would be huge burden to accommodate them," Bukhari said.
"JKCA has set the criteria that players should be provided all facilities after the shortlist is announced. In this case selectors have not announced the list yet. They have been hampered by bad weather as well. We expect them to announce list in one or two days," he said.
"It is obvious that that they would be finding it difficult but we are helpless as we can't accommodate all of them," he added.