EXCLUSIVE : Samiullah Beigh confirms Jammu & Kashmir's participation in Ranji Trophy

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EXCLUSIVE : Samiullah Beigh confirms Jammu & Kashmir's participation in Ranji Trophy

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Bastab K Parida


Samiullah Beigh, Jammu & Kashmir’s premier fast bowler, has revealed that the players have been notified to join the Ranji Trophy camps and the team will not pull out of the prestigious tournament. Earlier, the state association was considering a withdrawal due to its severe monetary crisis.

In March 2012, two Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) officials were accused of embezzlement of funds - a matter which eventually went to the state High court. The multi-crore scam also affected the reconstruction work at the Sher-I-Kashmir Stadium in Srinagar, the venue that hosted two One-Day Internationals in the 1980s. Consequently, the judicial authorities have frozen their accounts with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) not disbursing the state’s annual share to JKCA since then.

However, they had still received some funds to run the 2015-16 and 2016-17 season before things got worse when the Committee of Administrators, earlier this year, asked BCCI not to disburse funds to the state associations unless they made written submissions to the court stating their compliance with the Lodha Committee recommendations. The decision left J & K’s participation in the premier domestic competition in India in doubt and finally resulted in Samiullah Beigh, the state's senior-most player, writing to the CoA chairman Vinod Rai, requesting him to resolve their “genuine grievances”.

The letter reaped dividends within 48 hours as Beigh, confirmed to SportsCafe, that they have been asked to join the Ranji Trophy camp, which begins at the Sher-I-Kashmir Stadium in Srinagar from tomorrow (September 16).

Speaking exclusively to SportsCafe, Beigh said, “Every problem has been sorted out and JKCA have notified all the players to participate in the Ranji Trophy camp starting tomorrow at the Sher-I-Kashmir Stadium. You know, JKCA is suffering a lot of problems due to lack of funds for the last few years, but they haven’t stopped their hard work for our benefit. Kudos to them for making sure that all the requirements are met and we will play this year’s Ranji.”

J&K cricket has hit headlines many times owing to a string of controversies, scandals, club politics, and flawed selections to go with the ever-present social and political problems. Some of the Kashmir-based players have also seen difficult days with devastating floods hitting the valley almost every year. In 2013, some players, including Parvez Rasool, were trapped and most of the state, including all cricket facilities, was under water. For Beigh, the way of living life is never easy, but he has the faith that they can erase all the problems on the cricket field through some good performances.

“We, the players, are born with problems due to continuous political turmoil in the state and not always do we stay peacefully for some obvious reasons. Floods and curfew add to the agony. Cricket, for us, is the getaway from all these problems. But we prepare on our own individual level and still managed to beat big teams like Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi in the Ranji Trophy. The problems are challenging, but it doesn’t dampen our spirits. We go to different places to play pre-season tournaments and by the time Ranji Trophy comes, we are all ready.”

“Despite the shortage of money, JKCA conducted two different tournaments this year- one T20 and one 40-over tournament. This helped us a lot. Apart from that, all of our players played a couple of corporate tournaments, which are being organized in a very systematic manner. That prepares us for the bigger tournaments.”

Beigh, who obtained a civil engineering degree from the Regional Engineering College before qualifying for the J&K Public Service Commission, is a veteran in the side with a decade of first-class cricket experience. That comes up with its own responsibility as he led the young lot to stay calm under pressure. Although their preparations were hit hard, Beigh believes that the youngsters can perform much better this year and can bring the state some happiness. 

“Being the senior-most cricketer comes up with own challenges. Juniors look up to you. And I hope, all of us will come good and make the state proud.”

 On that optimistic note, and with a hopeful chuckle, he signed off.

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