Delhi Ranji Trophy skipper Gautam Gambhir has allegedly forced the six senior selectors, led by former India opener Chetan Chauhan, to select an unknown Haryana-based speedster for the next match against Punjab starting on Sunday.
The controversy erupted on Friday when Navdeep Saini, a Karnal resident who has no connection with the national capital, was selected for the second time in succession despite all the selectors registering their protest at the selection committee meeting.
One of the selectors, Mukesh Diwan, resigned in protest minutes after coming out of the meeting.
“This is against all the rules. One needs to be either a domicile of a particular state or should have been employed there by a company in order to be eligible for selection. But here is a guy who doesn’t meet either of the prerequisites. I have registered my protest in the minutes of the meeting and sent my resignation,” Diwan told dna on Friday.
Two other selectors called up this newspaper office and expressed their dissatisfaction over the selection drama.
“Our skipper (Gambhir) deliberately skipped Friday’s meeting and sent coach Sanjeev Sharma instead with the message of boycotting next game if this pace bowler was not selected. Even our chairman (Chauhan) raised the issue of domicile during the course of meeting but then gave up after hearing the ‘threat’ by team management,” said both selectors on condition of anonymity.
Chauhan also admitted that “this outsider’s selection issue is because of the pressure from Delhi Ranji team management”.
“This is a delicate issue as the entire team management wanted this guy in the team. As a selector, I don’t want to create any problem in the team during the course of a domestic season.
So, all the selectors decided to go with the team management’s choice,” he said.
Meanwhile, DDCA Sports Committee staged a day-long agitation outside its president Arun Jaitley’s office at Ferozeshah Kotla and urged him to sack the entire selection committee with immediate effect.
“This is not acceptable. This kind of selection criteria would kill the cricket in Delhi. If senior players including Gautam Gambhir are trying to threaten the selectors, then it’s a very serious disciplinary matter. An action should be taken against any such player,” said the sports committee convenor Dr Ahmed Tamim.
The sports committee has also condemned the Ranji team management decision to hold matches at the Roshanara Ground despite the home ground Ferozeshah Kotla being ready to host the matches. “DDCA has not paid its selectors and other support staff for the last three years.
But, for some unknown reasons, a huge amount of around Rs 10 lakh has been paid to Roshanara management as ground fee and food charges,” disclosed a selector.