Harris and Giles tournaments have lost utility: MCA

Clearing the air on the controversy over selection of the Mumbai U14 team, Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) president Ravi Savant on Wednesday defended his selection committee stating they had considered three selection trial tournaments and that the Harris Shield and Giles Shield tournaments were fast losing utility.

Post the recent Mumbai U-14 selection, the MCA had come under the scanner for allegedly overlooking players who had performed well in Mumbai School Sport Association (MSSA) Giles Shield this season and some players allegedly being included from "nowhere".

The Harris Shield, incidentally, was the tournament that first catapulted Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli into the limelight after their record 664-run partnership for their school in the late 80s.

"MCA runs summer camps which select 32 for off-season training. After that there are selection trials in the form of CPCC (Andheri) and Worli Sports Club U-14 tournaments and then the Dilip Vengsarkar Academy tournaments. These are three selection trials for U-14," Savant said.

He added that Harris Shield and Giles Shield tournaments with over a century of history which have contributed over 60 Test cricketers to India had fallen off the selection map owing to lopsided nature of results. "Before start of these tournaments as selection trials, the Harris Shield and and Giles Shield tournaments were the only tournaments for selection in that age group. After a number of schools started participating without proper teams or kits, the Harris Shield and Giles Shield tournaments have lost their utility," he said.

Savant noted that those who had complained about the selection process were players who had performed predominantly from the plate division and in the preliminary round of the Giles Shield where there was "no competition and the matches are one-sided."

Savant cited several instances of players scoring high in Giles matches and then being unable to prove their worth in the selection matches. He said the MCA had also struggled to find age proof of some players who had alleged "discrimination".

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