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Why paradise lost in Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli’s Delhi state cricket team

Sumit Narwal backed Gautam Gambhir’s harsh criticism of Delhi coach KP Bhaskar, said he sowed seeds of discord and practised nepotism. It’s a sad state of affairs in Virat Kohli’s state cricket team

cricket Updated: Mar 10, 2017 10:30 IST
Siddhartha Sharma
The Delhi state cricket team at a practice session at HPCA stadium in Dharamsala. All is not well in a team has Indian stalwarts like Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan
The Delhi state cricket team at a practice session at HPCA stadium in Dharamsala. All is not well in a team has Indian stalwarts like Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan(PTI)

Senior Delhi player Sumit Narwal backed former skipper Gambhir Gambhir’s harsh criticism of Delhi coach KP Bhaskar, saying the latter sowed seeds of discord and practised nepotism. It’s a sad state of affairs in Virat Kohli’s state team.

After Delhi’s miserable season ended this week with their failure to qualify for the Vijay Hazare one-day tournament’s quarterfinals, Gautam Gambhir had entered into an altercation with Bhaskar accusing him of creating insecurity in the team by constantly threatening to ring in changes.

Read more | Why there is perennial trouble in Virat Kohli’s cricket ‘home’

On Thursday, Narwal accused Bhaskar of creating groups in the dressing room in order to favour certain players. “I played a winning role in the Ranji match against Vidarbha, picking four wickets and had bowled long spells. In the next game, I was ill and had to rest. I came to know that Bhaskar had told the selectors that I did not want to play. I have been playing for Delhi for close to a decade and have never been accused of such an allegation.

“During the Vijay Hazare Trophy, I was asked to join the team after Pradeep Sangwan was ruled out due to injury.The DDCA had sent me the air ticket to Bhubaneswar. But I was told late night that a junior had already been called up and I need not come. My sources told me that Bhaskar had informed the selectors that I was not fit and can’t field so I shouldn’t be in the side. How can someone who has joined the side only this year make such an opinion?,” added Narwal.

Narwal also accused Bhaskar of threatening junior players. “When Unmukt Chand kept wickets in the T20 tournament, Bhaskar made his displeasure known. In fact, Unmukt had been keeping in T20s for the last three years and everybody could make out that Bhaskar wanted to fit in another guy. Similarly, Nitish Rana too was chucked out despite having performed well in the Duleep Trophy,” Narwal said.

Echoing Gambhir, Narwal said the frequent changes in the side did not help Delhi’s cause.

“Gautam Bhai wasn’t ready to support a player who wished to play on his own terms. So when he objected, he was simply asked to step down. Bhaskar knew that till the time Gambhir was at the helm, he wouldn’t be able to pick his favourites. Appointing Rishabh Pant as Delhi skipper instead of the senior Shikhar Dhawan was a well-calculated move as the young Pant couldn’t have said anything against Bhaskar,” Narwal said.

Bhaskar has submitted his report to the High Court-appointed administrator Vikramjit Sen. When asked to comment on Narwal’s allegations, Bhaskar told HT, “My image has been getting tarnished over the past three days. These allegations don’t affect me anymore. I have a meeting with Vikramjit Sen on Friday and will speak to him about it. Wait for a day.”

Delhi selector Robin Singh junior lamented the behaviour of senior players. “Some seniors in the squad took their place for granted. We replaced them with juniors. We replaced Nitish Rana as he wasn’t performing (for the state), Unmukt Chand failed throughout and Sumit Narwal had fitness issues,” Singh said.