Punjab Vijay Hazare squad officials under ‘conflict’ cloud
Punjab Cricket Association adopted the new BCCI constitution only on September 15, but it is already on a sticky wicket with at least three coaching staff, new cricket manager Rajdeep Kalsi, bowling coach Harvinder Singh and logistics manager Harminder Singh in conflict of interest as per the new regulations.
As soon as the names were released, many former players and coaches pointed out that Kalsi is associated with an academy—Achiever’s School of Cricket—based in Landran near Mohali. Harvinder is listed as a bowling coach in the academy’s website.
Former Himachal Pradesh Ranji cricketer and veteran coach Harish Sharma criticised PCA.
“It’s a clear-cut violation. One cannot be a coach of a state team and run an academy. As a coach he might be a person of great integrity, but it does leave a doubt of an apparent bias,” Sharma said. Kalsi has served as Himachal senior team coach for more than a decade. Sharma is (Chandigarh) UT sports department coach and is posted in the Sector 16 stadium.
Former India pacer Harvinder Singh has already had a stint as Punjab bowling coach. Logistics manager Harminder Singh’s – he was fielding coach till last year -- nephew Arpit Pannu is in the Vijay Hazare squad.
PCA spokesperson Sushil Kapoor defended the appointments and said as logistics manager Harminder doesn’t have a say in selection. However, Sharma said: “If you are a logistics manager, (you are) very much part of the travelling contingent. He is also an official with Chandigarh Cricket Association, which is affiliated to PCA.”
Rakesh Handa, who along with former players had raised the banner of revolt against PCA and formed Pun Cricket Players Association, also criticised the way in which the coaching staff was picked. “There is bias. It shows how the associations, including PCA, haven’t learned their lessons despite a clear order from the Supreme Court.”
PCA joint secretary Arun Sharma said everything was done as per the new rules. “We asked for affidavits and have them wherein each one has vouched he doesn’t have any conflict of interest. If a complaint comes, we will have it investigated,” he said.