Shane Warne’s Indian Premier League (IPL) stint couldn’t have finished on a worse note. The Rajasthan Royals were mauled by Royal Challengers Bangalore in their last home match on Wednesday, and minutes later, the Aussie spin legend and Rajasthan Cricket Association secretary, Sanjay Dixit, were involved in an ugly confrontation in full public glare.
Dixit has shot off a complaint to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the IPL, demanding action against the outgoing Rajasthan Royals skipper.
“He came up to me and said, ‘why didn’t you reply to my sms. You egoist. You ‘f...ed’ it up’,” claimed Dixit.
According to eyewitnesses, both were mad at each other and hurled the choicest of abuses at each other.
“They called each other a liar and asked the other to get out. Warne even called Dixit a cheater,” a witness said.
“They could have entered
into a fistfight had others not intervened,” said another onlooker. The two had been at loggerheads over the selection of pitch as well as team selection.
In the pitch row in Jaipur, where Warne and Co had opposed the shifting of the last two matches to a pitch on the fringe of the square, Dixit has thrown his weight
behind the BCCI Pitches and Grounds Committee chairman Venkat Sundaram, who shifted the May 9 game to the pitch that had not been marked for the IPL.
The move didn’t go down well with the Rajasthan Royals who saw it as a deliberate attempt to dilute their strength, which is spin, and help the Chennai Super Kings’ stroke-players. The CSK are owned by the BCCI secretary, N Srinivasan, while the majority share holder in the Rajasthan Royals is Suresh Chellaram, brother-in-law of former IPL chairman Lalit Modi.
Warne and Dixit aren’t on the same page even in matters of team composition. Although Dixit — he’s not in the Rajasthan Royals management — can’t have a direct role in team selection, it’s rumoured the local association wanted the franchisee to play more local players.
While Ashok Menaria and Dishant Yagnik, the local players from Rajasthan, have been regulars in the squad, fast bowler Pankaj Singh got his only chance in the last game, despite Warne’s reported opposition.
While Rajasthan Royals refused to comment on the entire episode, the IPL
Chief Executive Officer, Sundar Raman, said if there was anything to say, it would be done through a media release.