LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday suspended the ongoing national U-13 and U-16 one-day tournaments after it became aware that some over-aged cricketers had been participating in the events taking place in Karachi and Multan, respectively.

“To protect the spirit and essence of these U-13 and U-16 tournaments by ensuring that only deserving cricketers feature in the relevant age-group competitions, which act as pillars of the PCB’s Pathways Programme, the Board has decided to conduct a third round of bone age verification tests, following which the teams may be revised before both the tournaments commence next week from scratch,” said the PCB in a press release.

“Bone age tests in Multan, where each Cricket Association has fielded two teams each, will be conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday, while tests on 150 cricketers [including playing members, traveling reserves and reserve pool of players per side] participating in the U-13 event in Karachi will be held on Tuesday,” the release added.

“Players found over-aged following the latest bone age tests, will not be allowed to participate in these competitions. However, before the PCB takes appropriate actions, it will provide these players a two-day appeals window at the back of fresh tests, during which the players can either undergo another round of bone age test or submit their original birth certificates and other supporting documents to verify their ages.”

Though the decision to retest the players’ ages seems a good move, it is raising several questions over the system earlier adopted by the PCB.

Moreover, the press release did not mention any action taken against the PCB officials who were part of this system and cleared the boys for selection.

It may be mentioned here that some players were also included in the U-16 teams which had not participated in inter-school cricket, the criteria to pick the players.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2022



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