NEW DELHI: The BCCI has written to its affiliated units stating that their registered players should not participate in the unsanctioned Indian Junior Players League (IJPL), scheduled in Dubai from September 19-29. The matches are supposed to be played at the ICC Academy Ground in Dubai. During a recent launch of the event, the organisers also used the ICC logo in their flexiboard along with other sponsors. The email that BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary sent to the states is in possession of PTI. A secretary of a BCCI state unit admitted to have received an email from Choudhary. The letter states: "Our attention has been drawn to the following tournaments. A) Indian Junior Players League (IJPL) B) Indian Junior Premier League. Please note that BCCI has not approved both these tournaments. You are requested to advise the registered players of your association that they should not associate with these tournaments." A state association secretary told PTI: "We have a complete database of the registered U-19 and U-16 players. If anyone defies the BCCI diktat, he would be de-rostered immediately. Also, I don't think any player who will be a part of this league can play any BCCI accredited tournaments (age-group tournaments like Cooch Behar Trophy, Vinoo Mankad Trophy or Vijay Merchant Trophy)." Interestingly, former India player Gautam Gambhir is a brand ambassador for the tournament. South African ace Jonty Rhodes and West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard are also coming on board as mentors.
It is understood that since Gambhir is no longer a centrally contracted player of BCCI having fallen off the selection radar, the BCCI as of now has not issued any sanctions about him promoting the tournament. "I am delighted to be part of the IJPL T20 which is a unique platform for youngsters in India to showcase their talent and get into the limelight during the conduct of the League. I take this opportunity to convey my best wishes to each of the 240 players," Gambhir was quoted as saying in a press release during the launch of IJPL. Some of the known names associated with the project are actor-director Arbaaz Khan, younger brother of superstar Salman Khan. Arbaaz is the owner of Mumbai Masters while another TV actor called Rajeev Khandelwal is the owner of Rajasthan Roarers franchise. The teams have been named Gujarat Greats, Kolkata Strikers, Bangalore Stars, Assam Rangers, Pune Panthers, Delhi Dashers, Ranchi Boosters, Punjab Tigers, Dehradun Rockers, UP Heroes, Hyderabad Hawks, Chennai Champs, Rajasthan Roarers, Mumbai Masters, MP Warriors, and Haryana Hurricanes.