An astounding 136 wide balls were bowled during a BCCI U-19 women’s one-day match between Nagaland and Manipur played at Dhanbad on Wednesday. The match, which is a part of the inaugural Northeast-Bihar U-19 one-day competition being organised by the cricket board, saw Manipur bowling 94 wide balls while Nagaland were a shade better with 42.
Nagaland won the match by 117 runs to log four points, but girls from both the northeastern states were at times not even able to land the ball on the 22-yard square.
Sample this: Nagaland were all out for 215 in 38 overs and as per the scorecard available on BCCI website. Mushkan (54) and Pori (24) were the only two batswomen who managed to score in double digits.
But Manipur bowled 94 wide deliveries, which meant nearly 15.4 extra overs. Despite the bowling side’s profligacy, Nagaland women lasted 38 overs and had a decent score to look forward to.
In reply, Manipur were all out for 98 in 27.3 overs with Nagaland bowling seven extra overs (42 wides). In Manipur innings, there were two players who got into double figures. Seterni (17) and Ronibala Thokchom (24) crossed the 10-run mark while Pori of Nagaland got five wickets for 16 runs.
The match was being played at the Nehru Stadium in Jealgora, Dhanbad. The Committee of Administrators (CoA) wants to integrate northeastern states into the BCCI set-up but the match was an
example that aspiring cricketers from the region need top-quality coaching facility from the cricket board.
“There is always a beginning. As the teams from NE states will play more matches, they will certainly get better. The idea to have a one-day league between NE states is to give exposure to competitive cricket. With state-of-the-art coaching, one can only get better,” Naba Bhattacharjee, the Meghalaya CA top boss and the convenor of NE states in BCCI told PTI.
However, a few BCCI officials, who were present during the match, conceded that it’s not about the wide balls bowled but the “wide gap” that exists, which needs to be bridged. “It looks nice to throw these girls at the deep end of the pool but when you are playing a National U-19 championship, just knowing the basics of cricket well won’t suffice. You need to be at least be competitive,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.