The BCCI will be using a software on an experimental basis to detect age fraud alongside the existing TW3 method with an aim to save costs by as much as 80 percent. The BCCI, which has a zero tolerance policy towards age fraud, currently uses the TW3 method (based on X-ray of left hand and wrist) for age determination.
The current method costs Rs 2400 per bone test and takes about 3-4 days while the proposed usage of BoneXpert Software will give instantaneous result and costs only Rs 288.
Explaining the entire process, a BCCI note read: "The X-rays are taken at the respective home centres of state associations at the X-ray centre in the presence of independent BCCI observer and sent to the BCCI AVP Department.
"BCCI AVP department collates them in a proper format and send it to two (2) independent radiologists on the BCCI panel for interpretation of bone age. Reporting also takes time since we have about 4 radiologists doing ratings of 38 associations and every radiologist does interpretation of about 8-9 associations.
"It can take any time between one day to three four days to get the reporting of associations from the consultants depending upon the workload on them and number of players. Entire process takes around two (2) months to be completed."
The board will be working with the state associations on the experiment. "Though we are satisfied by the trial data run on the limited number of X-rays in our databank, still we want to run a trial with large number of X-rays (approximately 3800) across all associations to be fully satisfied with the working of the software.
"Hence, we are proposing to use this software on a trial basis along with our traditional method of manual interpretation of x-rays by the radiologists," the note added.
Age fraud is rampant at the age group level across the country. In June 2019, Jammu and Kashmir pacer Rasikh Alam was banned for two years after being found guilty of submitting an incorrect birth certificate. U-19 World Cup star Manjot Karla, Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi batter Ankit Bawne are among the cricketers who have been found guilty of concealing their age.
In August 2020, the BCCI had introduced a voluntary disclosure scheme for registered players to declare if they had manipulated their date of birth. All cricketers committing age fraud, including senior men and women, are handed two year bans by the BCCI.
"Age fraud is a serious matter and is detrimental to the health of the sport. Many youngsters who are supposed to be playing in a particular age group fail to make it owing to age fraud. With the BCCI taking stern actions to curb this, it is only advisable for the players to come forward and abide by the directives issued by the Board," then NCA head and current India head coach Rahul Dravid had said after the announcement of the voluntary disclosure scheme.