Merge under-15, under-17 level for national under-16 schools tourney

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Chennai, Mar 25 (UNI) With a view to have more quality talent at the national level, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today decided to merge the Under-15 and Under-17 age group to have a national Under-16 schools tournament.

A decision to this effect was taken at the working committee and finance committee meeting of the BCCI held here today, BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah and Treasurer N Srinivasan told reporters.

They said from the coming season there would be tournaments for Under-16, Under-19 and Under-22.

There would be a national school tournament, comprising eight schools from each state at the Under-16 level, with the top two teams from each state meeting the top two from other states to have a 'Champion School team' at the national level.

There would be no cap on the number of schools participating at the state level and a state can have as many schools as possible.

''The basic idea to merge the Under-15 and Under-17 is to have more quality players at the national level,'' Mr Srinivasan said.

The Under-16 level would be managed by the state associations, which would have an academy each that would be inter-linked to the National Cricket Academy (NCA), dealing with the Under-19 talent.

Mr Srinivasan said the NCA would concentrate only on under-19 talent, which would include the future players for the senior team.

To a question, Mr Niranjan Shah said former skipper and 1983 World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev and Ajit Wadekar were not invited for the felicitation function to honour Indian skipper Anil Kumble for achieving 600 test wickets.

He also ruled out any plans by the BCCI to honour the 1983 World Cup winning team on the occasion of 25 years of its achievement in June this year. ''BCCI President Sharad Pawar had already made it clear that we cannot rest on past glory and we are looking at the future''.

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