LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday stopped the ongoing National U-13 and U-16 One-Day Tournaments in Karachi and Multan, respectively, after learning that some over-aged cricketers were competing in the events.
The PCB has decided to conduct the third round of bone age verification tests, following which the teams may be revised before both tournaments begin next week from scratch, in order to protect the spirit and essence of these U13 and U16 tournaments by ensuring that only deserving cricketers compete in the relevant age-group competitions, which act as pillars of the PCB’s Pathways Programme.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, bone age tests will be conducted in Multan, where each Cricket Association has fielded two teams, and on Tuesday, tests will be conducted on 150 cricketers (including playing members, travelling reserves, and reserve pool of players per side) competing in the U13 event in Karachi.
Players who are found to be over-aged as a result of the most recent bone age testing will be unable to compete in these events. However, before taking appropriate action, the PCB will provide these athletes with a two-day appeals window following the new tests, during which they can either present their original birth certificates and other supporting documentation to validate their ages or undertake another set of bone age tests.
The teams will remain at their stations until the tournaments resume and will continue to train and practise under the supervision of the PCB-appointed coaches.
PCB Director – High Performance, Nadeem Khan: “After visual assessment confirmed that some over-age cricketers were participating in the U13 and U16 tournaments, suspending the events and conducting fresh bone age tests was absolutely the right thing to do.
“The PCB, as the sole governing body of cricket in Pakistan, cannot allow over-age cricketers to take advantage of the flaws in the system and cause demotivation and mental stress to deserving under-age cricketers as well as their parents.
“Falsifying age to become eligible to participate in age-group cricket is not only an offence but a menace that has been plaguing our system. This now needs to be corrected to protect the integrity of the tournaments as well as to stop the exodus of young talented cricketers.
“The PCB will carry out the third round of bone age tests and players who are ultimately found to have breached the process, will be ejected from the tournaments before a decision on their future participation in PCB-organised events is made. Separately, the PCB will also review its internal processes and try to put in place protocols whereby only cricketers who are genuinely the relevant age get an opportunity to compete in PCB-organised events so that they remain on track to fulfilling their dreams through our pathways programmes.”
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