BHOPAL: Infighting in Bhopal Divisional Cricket Association (BDCA) has begun to impact local cricketers and their performance. Unlike in the past, not a single player from Bhopal won annual awards, which were announced by the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) on Sunday. Small cricket divisions like Shahdol and Chambal are slowing, but surely making their mark as was evident from the list released on August 13.
Nomination of Aruneshwar Singhdeo and Suhail Ansari as lifetime members of the MPCA was the only consolation for Bhopal.
The problem for gradual decline in players’ performance over last couple of years could be traced to a fight for the supremacy between two factions of the BDCA, one led by Congress MLA Arif Aqueel and another by former BJP MLA Dhruv Narayan Singh. For past two years, Arif faction maintained its stand that it conducted the election according to a list of 151 members submitted to the MPCA and it was the original list. Singh, however, claims his faction conducted elections on the basis of 251 members and there was no dispute on it. Both parties are fighting it out in court.
Power struggle between the two factions forced the MPCA to form an adhoc body comprising six members in which there is no representation from Bhopal. The decision came after the high court decision that permitted the MPCA to decide on the BDCA.
Cricketers from Bhopal have been flagging their concerns saying the factional fight would jeopardise career of the promising players. “It is obvious that Bhopal cricketers would suffer when selectors are not from here. The MPCA is discharging its duty to help Bhopal cricket, but it is not enough. Cricket in Bhopal can be saved when the local body functions properly,” said a senior cricketer without quoting his name.
MPCA authorities in the past had admitted the fight should end for the sake of cricket in Bhopal. “The scene would have been definitely different if there was a functioning body in Bhopal. We have no other option, but to operate activities directly from the MPCA,” MPCA CEO Rohit Pandit had recently said.
After their nomination, both Singhdeo and Ansari felt the cricket would flourish when played outside the court. “I am always there to support and promote cricket in Bhopal. This is alarming that Bhopal players are not able to make it to the list of award recipients. Time has come to think seriously to save Bhopal cricket,” said Singhdeo, who also the chairman of Arif-led BDCA faction.
Former first class cricketer Suhail Ansari said, “I will try to work to improve cricket in Bhopal. There is need to have a proper functional BDCA in Bhopal.” Only achievement for Bhopal division in 2016-17 was the runner-up trophy in Madhavrao Scindia trophy. In other tournaments, Bhopal team could not make it to the finals.