ICC bowled out by age-cheats

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Delhi police in 2019 found 11 players guilty of age-fraud having obtained false certificates from municipal authorities so as to gain entry in lower age-group cricket competitions.
  • ICC lagging behind FIFA in curbing the scourge.
  • Asian team player reveals real age to Zim official
  • ICC lax approach slammed

“In 2015 playing a series with what was supposed to be (team name given) Under-19s, I asked one of their quick bowlers how old he was,” an ex-Zimbabwe official said.

“He innocently said to me, ‘passport age or family age?’. I said ‘your real age’. And he said ’23, sir’. Imagine, imagine! ICC is not up to speed with age verification technology like FIFA in age-group tournaments.”

A ZIMBABWEAN cricket official who has worked with his country’s team at Under-19 World Cup tournaments has raised alarm over possible age-cheating at the on-going edition in South Africa, saying world governing body of the game, ICC, is lagging behind such organisations like FIFA in curbing the scourge.

The official who spoke on condition of anonymity said age-cheating in the game was more prevalent in the Asian region, where the pressure of winning at that level of the game is more pronounced than anywhere else in the cricket-playing world.

Suspicion regarding age-cheating has particularly arose following one of the early shock results in the group stages of the current Under-19 World Cup, where one of tournament outsiders defeated a team regarded as one of the event’s favourites.

Did you see how developed the moustaches of the players in that team were? Seriously drives me nuts,” said the official, who went on to tell Zim Morning Post how a player from the said team revealed his real age to him when he was part of Zimbabwe’s coaching staff.

“In 2015 playing a series with what was supposed to be (team name given) Under-19s, I asked one of their quick bowlers how old he was,” the ex-Zimbabwe official said.

“He innocently said to me, ‘passport age or family age?’. I said ‘your real age’. And he said ’23, sir’. Imagine, imagine! ICC is not up to speed with age verification technology like Fifa in age-group tournaments.”

The official added that from his experience from the Under-19 World Cup, he has been left quite astonished by ICC’s lax approach to the real possibility of age-cheating in the sport.

“It’s very ironic that ICC are very scientific and zero tolerant on bowling actions, throwing cameras all over the ground, but strangely very relaxed towards issues of age verification,” he said.

“The only requirements are that you simply fill in paperwork detailing ages of the players, and send. In actual fact, there is no scrutiny per say. ICC normally gives participating nations birth dates cut-off of eligible players. But I have never seen any scrutiny to verify. We all know that it’s easy to acquire false passport or birth papers isn’t it. It’s very strange that ICC is so relaxed at such a global tournament.”

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