Manhas returns; Jaitley promises fair selection | india | Hindustan Times
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Manhas returns; Jaitley promises fair selection

When Delhi take the field against Himachal Pradesh at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Tuesday, they will have Mitthun Manhas back at the helm again.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2006 02:51 IST

When Delhi take the field against Himachal Pradesh at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Tuesday, they will have Mitthun Manhas back at the helm again. After a couple of farcical days in the field and off it, DDCA president Arun Jaitley finally stepped in and settled the matter on Monday evening.

But first, a quick recap. In Delhi's first one-dayer against J&K on Friday, regular skipper Manhas led a side which saw debutants Ishant Sharma and Suhail Sharma bring glory to Delhi. That evening, Manhas told the selectors he would not lead Delhi in the vital game against Punjab on Sunday, because his father was unwell and he wasn't in the “right frame of mind” to captain.

On Saturday evening, Chopra was told by selection committee chairman Anil Jain that he would lead in Manhas's absence. On Sunday, to everyone's surprise, Manhas turned up and still didn't lead.

Insiders say that while the ostensible reason for Manhas's refusal to lead was his father's “illness”, he had shied away from the captaincy because he was under tremendous pressure to pick a XI influenced by “powerful outsiders”.

Chopra led the side but refused to have a say in the selection of the playing XI, saying he was only a stand-in measure for that game. Suhail was controversially replaced by Sports Committee convenor Ramesh Sachdeva's son Yogesh and later Sunday evening, Chopra told the selectors he did not want to be skipper in such strange circumstances and bear the flak for decisions he had no hand in.

On Monday morning, faced with their two senior-most players unwilling to lead, the selectors reportedly asked Shikhar Dhawan if he was interested. Dhawan also declined. And an emergency meeting of the four selectors, chief coach Madan Lal, Manhas and Chopra was called at 5 pm. Interestingly, assistant coach MS Jaggi, the man who actually made the controversial playing XI against Punjab, was not present.

At the meeting itself, Jaitley issued instructions that squad and teams should be picked fairly on merit. He and the selectors also felt that if Manhas could play, then he should captain and Chopra, officially appointed vice-captain, could back up. Incidentally, the playing XI will be decided by the chief coach and captain.

Squad: Mitthun Manhas (capt), Aakash Chopra (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rajat Bhatia, Virat Kohli, Gaurav Chabra, Abinav Bali, Puneet Bisht, Ishant Sharma, Amit Bhandari, Kuunal Lall, NS Negi, Suhail Sharma, Yogesh Sachdeva and Chetanya Nanda.