ACA waiting game flops
Guwahati, Sept. 30: Time and tide wait for none. The Assam Cricket Association (ACA) has learnt this the hard way with three more senior players joining the rebel Indian Cricket League.
Unlike the quartet of Abu Naschim Ahmed, Parvez Aziz, Sujoy Tarafdar and S.V. Saravanan, the latest three ICL entrants — Syed Zakaria Zuffri, Arlen Konwar and Pritam Das — had given enough time to the ACA to do “something” for the welfare of the players.
The ACA decided to introduce graded contracts for players during its governing body meeting in Nalbari on September 9. Accordingly, a panel involving the topbrass and selectors was constituted to grade the players and work out the details of the proposed contracts.
“However, sources claimed that the panel never met in the interim even though retaining the remaining players and selecting a good team should have been the priority. The ACA’s insincerity was apparent. So, I could not afford to waste the opportunity at hand,” said Konwar, who had been flown back from Hyderabad earlier this month to participate in the September 9 governing body meeting as a players’ representative but was left cooling his heels in a city hotel instead.
“Some ACA office-bearers came back in the evening to tell me that contracts would be introduced. This sounded like the promises that are made from time to time but never kept,” he said.
Konwar finally took the plunge along with Das. The ACA’s contention for the delay was that it was busy with preparations for the November 5 India-Pakistan one-dayer. Those in the know, however, said that the ACA should have given equal attention to the contracts issue, more so when Konwar had said that he and other players did not expect the association to match the ICL’s offers.
“Some might argue that there was no guarantee that the players would not have left had the contracts been finalised. But the point here is that once the announcement was made the ACA should have acted fast to at least show that they had tried to retain the players. Unlike other sports associations they cannot even cite lack of funds as an excuse,” one of the sources pointed out.
ACA insiders said that an emergency governing body should be convened to find out what went wrong and who is responsible for the delay.