The star performers of last year’s under-19 World Cup winning team have been rewarded by being included in the India U-23 team to play in the Asian Cricket Council Emerging Teams Cup. However, in the team selected on Wednesday, the omission of left-arm spinner Harmeet Singh is glaring as he too belonged to those who excelled in the junior World Cup.
The team, to be led by Mumbai batsman, Surya Kumar Yadav, also includes Unmukt Chand, Smit Patel, B Aparajith, Sandeep Sharma and Prashant Chopra, all from the triumphant junior squad.
Harmeet seems to have paid the price after his name was dragged into the spot-fixing scandal that hit the Indian T20 league. In fact, it has been all downhill for Harmeet since the U-19 outing where former Australian captain Ian Chappell praised him as one of the best young spinners. He was even picked in the Rest of India squad for the Irani Cup game against Rajasthan.
However, a finger injury in his bowling hand jeopardised his Ranji season and the spot-fixing scam appears to have thrown his career off-track.
Bookie Jitender Singh had alleged he had tried to get Harmeet involved but didn’t strike a deal as the player was too young. The 20-year-old’s Rajasthan Royals teammates S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandla and Ankeet Chavan were arrested and are among those charged by the Delhi police.
Harmeet, in a statement to BCCI’s anti-corruption chief, Ravi Sawani, said he was misled by Chandila and was not aware of any wrongdoing. Harmeet wanted to switched to Vidarbha for the 2013/14 first-class season, but could not sign the contract due to the controversy.
Chairman of the junior selection panel, Chandrakant Pandit, refused to comment. Harmeet said: “I will bounce back strongly. My form is fine and that is important,” he told HT.
In the tournament to be hosted by Singapore, India are grouped with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal.