New Delhi: Just when one thought that all the commotion that enveloped the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) going into this year’s Ranji Trophy — over the selection of coach — was a thing of the past, the DDCA once again showed on Tuesday that one should never discount the association’s ability to get into the news for the wrong reasons.
What was meant to be a simple team selection meeting — going into next round’s match against Orissa — turned into a full-fledged battle as captain Gautam Gambhir refused to accept the Chetan Chauhan-headed selection committee’s decision to drop senior wicket-keeper Punit Bisht for Rahul Yadav.
While Gambhir backed Bisht, Chauhan was adamant that Yadav will replace the diminutive wicket-keeper who has failed to score too many runs this season.
At the end, Gambhir stormed out of the meeting and even threatened to step down as skipper going into the next match at Sambalpur.
Describing the scene at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Tuesday afternoon, a senior DDCA official said that it was a situation which could have been easily avoided and officials seem to be more interested in pushing their own players to please vote-banks than look at the interest of the team.
“We won the last match against Haryana by 105 runs and while I do agree that Bisht hasn’t been at the top of his game this season, he scored a vital 37-ball 33 in the last match which helped us get out of a rut on the opening day. But then, Yadav is from Rohtak Road Gymkhana and you need to appease the voters and that is the reason why he was brought it,” he told Mail Today.
“You generally don’t tend to change the team when you have just won your first game of the season. But in this case, there were more people to please."
“In fact, Gambhir even wanted to take the matter up with president Arun Jaitley, but I think since the latter is busy with elections, that didn’t happen. But Gambhir was really furious and threatened that he wouldn’t lead the side.”
While Yadav replaced Bisht, Mohit Sharma came into the team in place of Manoj Chauhan — another move that didn’t make much sense as it will be a turning track in Orissa — and Ashish Nehra will be back in place of Ishant Sharma, out on national duty.
SQUAD: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Unmukt Chand, Virender Sehwag, Mithun Manhas, Rajat Bhatia, Vaibhav Rawal, Ashish Nehra, Parvinder Awana, Sumit Narwal, Varun Sood, Rahul Yadav (wicket-keeper), Manan Sharma, Milind Kumar, Mohit Sharma and Pawan Suyal.