There is no end to controversy in Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). Aside from allegations of corruption, which are being investigated by various agencies, the home association of India skipper Virat Kohli has witnessed bust-ups between officials as well as players.
In the latest incident, former India and Delhi skipper Gautam Gambhir got embroiled in a verbal spat with Delhi coach KP Bhaskar. The altercation happened in Bhubaneshwar where the Delhi team had gone to play Vijay Hazare tournament.
Bhaskar, who is in his first season as coach, has had differences with Gambhir earlier in the season too during the selections, especially over the exclusion of Nitish Rana, Unmukt Chand among others.
Gambhir had been the captain before he was replaced by young India international Rishabh Pant ahead of the Vijay Hazare one-dayers.
The decision didn’t go down well with even former India player and ex-DDCA vice-president Chetan Chauhan, a critic of Gambhir, calling it ill-timed. “If they had to do it, they should have done it at the end of the season or beginning of the next,” he said.
However, the team that went to Vijay Hazare under Pant didn’t do well, failing to make it to the quarterfinals.
Gambhir described Bhaskar’s actions as creating tension in the team.
“Bhaskar created insecurity in the dressing room. He constantly talked about chipping and chopping in the team. If you drop people, it will send out a wrong message,” said Gambhir.
Differences not new
The differences cropped up when the selectors decided to drop Nitish Rana. “Nitish came back after playing Duleep Trophy and he was dropped from the Ranji team. Similarly, Unmukt was captaining Delhi and India A, but he was dropped even from one-dayers just because he didn’t do well in the longer format.”
Both Nitish and Unmukt belong to Gambhir’s LB Shastri Club, a rival to Sonnet for which Pant plays. However, Gambhir says that he has backed players from Sonnet too and Bhaskar hasn’t allowed the team to settle.
Delhi hasn’t been able to do well in Ranji Trophy over the past few years. Last year there was a furore over the appointment of coach. Vijay Dahiya was removed and it didn’t go down well with Gambhir.
When contacted Bhaskar said, “I have been told to restrain. Wait till I submit my report. All I did was discharge my obligations with honesty. Beyond that I can’t comment on anything now.”