A peculiar problem will present itself to the Delhi & Districts Cricket Association executive committee, even if they make an (unlikely) attempt to tighten their selection committee, following possible demands by Virender Sehwag and Delhi’s senior players later this week.
The only logical way to try and ensure fair selections, on the face of it, is to get top-level players from the state to be selectors, assuming they will pick the best possible squad. Unfortunately, Delhi’s former India players have not exactly covered themselves in glory when handed the reins of power for the Ranji squad, forget the less scrutinised junior selections. See graphics
So other than those who we’ve looked at in the graphic alongside, who’s really left of the band of former India players currently living in Delhi? Yashpal Sharma, who was under the scanner some years ago over the contentious selection of Abhinav Bali (both their families come from the same Himachal village), but he was also selector when Bali was dropped — in any case, he is a current national selector, a paid job in which he cannot hold another post.
Then there’s Bishan Singh Bedi, who has had vicious fights with the DDCA establishment over players’ rights and the DDCA will be scared to touch. Tiger Pataudi, who never gets involved, Manoj Prabhakar, who was banned for five years post the mach-fixing scandal, returned as bowling coach and is now coach of Rajasthan. Ajay Sharma, banned for life, Ajay Jadeja, busy with media and golf commitments and Maninder Singh, who has been battling various personal problems.
Against this backdrop, it would be interesting to see how Jaitley deals with suggestions forwarded by Sehwag & Co.
That’s not all. While the sports committee’s interference in selections, especially junior, is one issue that has the players up in arms, what also has them hot and bothered is the way other matters are handled. Look at these examples:
n On the eve of Delhi’s vs Gujarat last season, Tihara junior did not get to bat at the morning nets because he wasn’t in the playing XI. His father reportedly called coach Vijay Dahiya up and gave him an explosive earful. A special net session was organised at 3pm for Vartik.
The Delhi Ranji team has a coach (Dahiya), two assistant coaches (Maninder Singh Jaggi and Ajit Choudhury — while Jaggi helps organise nets, no one’s quite sure why Choudhury is around), manager (Manoj Kapur), logistics manager (Vikram Hastir), nets coordinator (Rajan Sachdeva), physiotherapist (Badrinath), trainer (Tejbir Singh) and a video-analyst (Sawanpreet). For away games last year, they decided to save on money by not having the trainer and video-analyst travel. The rest of the jing-bang always made the trip, as did assorted DDCA officials and selectors.
The selectors get Rs. 1000 each time they drop in to stand around at nets. The players, many of who travel long distances and spend at least Rs. 200 on travel per day, get nothing. In most other states, the players come together for a state camp and are housed close to the stadium. In Mumbai, they often stay at the Garware Club House at the Wankhede, so they don’t have to travel each day.
Will change happen? Unlikely, unless the executive committee (most who have vested interests themselves because of the DDCA’s vote politics) are finally embarrassed and ashamed enough of all that’s going on to back their players and say enough is enough.