Anurag Thakur was recently elected as the new President of BCCI © IANS
Anurag Thakur was recently elected as the new President of BCCI © IANS

Shillong: Aimed at promoting cricket in North Eastern states, BCCI President Anurag Thakur on Wednesday announced development of cricketing infrastructure in the region besides the possibility of the Board doubling its annual grants to affiliate and associate member states. Thakur visited Dimapur in Nagaland as well as Meghalaya capital of Shillong. The BCCI president, who took charge 10 days back, was on a whirlwind tour of the New Area Development Project (NADP) states and began with a trip to Dimapur yesterday igniting hopes of transforming the standard of cricket in the region. “As BCCI President, I am making this announcement that within next couple of months we will start the indoor facility here,” Thakur said while addressing 25 players drawn from NADP states who are undergoing national training. READ: Anurag Thakur inaugurates Mulapadu Cricket Centre

The BCCI is trying to improve the facilities keeping in mind the Lodha Committee’s recommendations of giving equal importance to development of cricket in the region. Yesterday, he announced a similar infrastructure at Dimapur in Nagaland. “I can understand the problem you faced as I come from a hilly state. Because of heavy rainfall, I know it is difficult to practice in this area,” he said. READ: Thakur: BCCI earmarks Rs. 100 crore for ‘Go Green’ initiative

Acknowledging that cricket is an expensive game, Thakur urged affiliate and associate member states likes Meghalaya to keep promoting the game by holding camps and games in an organised way. “In future, you will get lot of support from BCCI including infrastructure funding,” he said, adding that the BCCI is “creating a blueprint” for cricket in North East. Urging the member states to send the balance sheet to get the annual grants due to them, the BCCI President also hinted at doubling the annual grants. READ: BCCI contemplate mini IPL in September 2016

Presently each affiliate and associate member state gets Rs 50 lakh each. “We will try and recommend that it should be doubled so that you can do well to meet up with rising expenses.” According to Thakur, all states under BCCI’s NADP should also have grounds to host international matches, inter-district and inter-club matches and an indoor practice area. The BCCI is committed to handhold northeastern states and bring them to the mainstream. I am extremely happy with the two camps organised by the BCCI at Shillong and Dimapur. We have exciting talent coming through and the BCCI will give them a platform to excel. We have taken steps that will lay a solid foundation for cricket development in the northeast,” he added.

The BCCI President further announced that a tournament will be organised within July 31, where associate and affiliate members will get opportunity to play in junior tournament from where national selectors will pick 15 players who will then participate in BCCI’s various age-group national championships. BCCI is also mulling to form a combined northeast team, which will participate in all national-level tournaments conducted by the board across all age groups.

(With IANS inputs)