India’s emerging batting sensation Manjot Kalra has been handed a one-year suspension by the Delhi and District Cricket Association over suspected age fraud during his U-16 and U-19 days. An outgoing Ombudsman Justice by the name of Badr Durrez Ahmed passed the order for Kalra’s suspension as his last act of business, preventing the young batsman from playing age-group cricket for two years as well as given a one-year suspension from playing in the Ranji trophy.

“He (Kalra) has been prevented from playing club matches also. Now his parents will have to appeal for a change of order in front of new Ombudsman. Till then DDCA can't pick him for Ranji Trophy. We are helpless," DDCA general secretary Vinod Tihara told the PTI.

Manjot Kalra was India’s hero in the U-19 World Cup final of 2019, scoring an unbeaten century in India’s eight-wicket victory over Australia. More recently, he performed brilliantly in an U-23 game for Delhi, scoring 80 against Bengal and was tipped to be Shikhar Dhawan’s replacement for Delhi’s upcoming Ranji trophy games but this suspension has ruled him out of contention.

Middle-order batsman Nitish Rana, who represents team Kolkata in the Indian T20 league, has also been under the scanner over an age fraud issue, but has been let off with just a warning. Uttar Pradesh fast bowler Shivam Mavi has also been scrutinized for age fudging, with his case being referred to the BCCI.

"I find it surprising that Manjot Kalra has been punished for the same offence that Nitish Rana is also allegedly guilty of. We couldn't pick Manjot as it was Ombudsman's order. He passed it at 11:30 pm at night, a day before he relinquished office. Now that's a bit bizarre," Vinod Tihara added.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Marty Melville