A fresh start for Delhi cricket

A new innings began at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Sunday as, probably for the first time ever, everyone associated with the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) spoke without the fear of reprisal about the problems afflicting the game in the Capital and their solutions.

From Virender Sehwag to Madan Lal, and from DDCA president Arun Jaitley to 75-year-old Dharamvir Pathak, who played for Delhi in 1966, everyone gave their suggestions/ advice at the first ever Interactive Planning Workshop on Delhi Cricket, organised by the newly elected sports working committee (SWC).

And giving a peep into “the start of a new era”, DDCA general secretary SP Bansal said that “improvements are on their way”. “We are all working towards the same goal – to improve Delhi cricket. We’ll have four-five academies in Delhi for players to practice. We have also submitted with the MCD plans of an indoor facility,” Bansal said, replying to the candid views expressed by players, coaches and secretaries of DDCA’s member clubs.

“The league is currently is being organised for namesake. Let’s raise its standard, even if we have to reduce its numbers. We are also working towards insurance of players,” he said, looking ahead.

The participants had earlier raised problems emanating from the selection of various teams to the women’s cricket not being given sufficient space to flourish.

The DDCA officials, including vice- president Chetan Chauhan, promised to find solutions to the ills in the upcoming season by marking Sunday as a fresh beginning in the 77-year-old history of the association.

Chauhan agreed with coach Sanjay Bharadwaj’s suggestion that well-known academies should also be made DDCA members, just like clubs.

“We have received several applications and we have been informally discussing this among us. But the problem is that if we give affiliation to one academy others would also want to be on board. So, probably we’ll have set a benchmark,” Chauhan told Mail Today. There were some people in the large gathering who felt that the media usually portrays a negative image of the DDCA. To them, Sehwag speaking on behalf of players gave an apt reply, with which everyone seems to have agreed.

“I feel we, as an association and as players, should not care who is writing what about us. If you do good work, they can’t write bad about you. And if you do bad work, they wouldn’t praise you. If I score runs, they will surely praise me; if I don’t score runs, they can’t have any kind of praise for me,” Sehwag, who drove down straight from airport to the Kotla, said.

Sehwag also said keeping the game clean is of utmost significance.

“It’s important that we keep cricket as clean as possible. Probably we are six or seven players from Delhi who currently represent India. So, if our cricket remains clean, probably more players from Delhi would represent India in future,” he hoped.

“Complaints are everywhere and if we keep complaining we’ll not be able to work. I hope the new sports committee would work for the betterment of the game. My good wishes are with them.” Madan Lal said that people would have to do away with egos to bring about a change. “If you really want to change [something], you’ve to change the mindset; bring down egos to a manageable level, and not inflated ones,” he said.

“No issue is big enough that it can’t be resolved by sitting across the table.” While making clear that he was not seeking any post in DDCA, the former Test all-rounder advised players to concentrate on their performance and not worry about what the officials were into. Earlier, Jaitley unveiled a unique and comprehensive calendar prepared by the Ahmed Tamim-led sports committee and also a new website. The calendar contains a detailed programme of the Delhi team vis-à-vis the BCCI tournaments.

Among the present and former players present at the workshop were Rajat Bhatia, Mithun Manhas, Sumit Narwal, Parvinder Awana, Amit Bhandari, Vivek Razdan, Gursharan Singh, Nikhil Chopra and many more juniors. But the likes of Bishan Singh Bedi and Kirti Azad were conspicuous by their absence.


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