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Sourav Ganguly wants to catch ’em young

Junior cricket in India is set for a boost as the BCCI Apex Council on Sunday decided to televise the U-16 and U-19 boys and girls final matches. The idea was floated by BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and the committee immediately approved it.

Ganguly and his team will now check the viability of this move with the host broadcaster. “It was our president’s idea to televise the final matches of junior cricket. We approved this noble idea; it’s about giving prominence to junior cricket. We will discuss with Star Sports whether it is feasible for them to do it,” BCCI joint secretary Jayesh George told mid-day.

The Apex Council also approved the introduction of a national level tournament for U-16 girls, which will be on the lines of the boys U-16 Vijay Merchant Trophy. The tournament will be conducted on a zonal basis, it is learnt.

The Apex Council will also review pension and medical facilities for former cricketers. “We will re-look the entire pension scheme. We have certain ideas; I have already discussed with Arun ji [Treasurer Arun Dhumal]. It has already been discussed because a lot of players already have a job and still get pension [from the BCCI]. So, we will make it available for more people who are in more need of it,” said Ganguly.

Meanwhile, Dhumal said: “We will assess all these benefits and whatever best we can do, we are there for it.” While the pension is decided on a pro-rata basis depending on the number of matches played, the limit for the reimbursement of ex-players’ hospital bills is R5 lakh.

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