Ahead of the North Zone matches of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the curator at the Feroz Shah Kotla, the venue of Delhi’s first game against Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, accused Gautam Gambhir of ‘using abusive language’ following a difference of opinion over the nature of the wicket.
Venkat Sundaram’s allegation was dismissed by Gambhir, the Delhi skipper, as a ‘piece of fiction’.
Incidentally, this is not the first time that Sundaram and Gambhir have not seen eye-to-eye. Delhi played a majority of their Ranji Trophy matches at the Roshanara Club grounds after Gambhir felt that his request for a sporting wicket at the Kotla was not granted.
Sundaram had then accused Gambhir of interfering with his job, while the Delhi skipper had said that he was only trying to go for an outright win.
However, on Monday, differences of opinion between Gambhir and Sundaram resurfaced ahead of the 50-over matches after which the latter complained to the DDCA that Gambhir had ‘misbehaved and ‘abused’ him.
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Though Gambhir admitted that he told Sundaram to prepare a wicket that would suit the team, he said there was no truth to the curator’s allegations.
“I got calls from the media saying that DDCA curator Venkat Sundaram has accused me of using abusive language. I can categorically tell you that there is no truth in this. Yes I did meet him on Monday at Ferozshah Kotla but there was no heated argument at all. Being the well-wisher of Delhi cricket my only suggestion to Venkat Sundaram was to give us a wicket that suits the Delhi team. Yes we have differences of opinion when it comes to the nature of pitch but to say that I abused him is a piece of fiction,” Gambhir said in a statement.
Gambhir also recalled that this was not the first time that Sundaram had criticised him.
“Even some time back he accused me in the media of interfering in his job as a curator. Being the captain of the Delhi team I have enough things to worry about and Venkat is the last person on my mind. We are the defending champions of Vijay Hazare trophy and therefore the onus is on us to maintain consistency this year as well. Stories like these are a distraction and I’d like to stay away from them,” Gambhir added.
DDCA to decide
A top official confirmed that Sundaram had informed DDCA president Sne Bansal that Gambhir had abused him on Monday.
“We will talk to both sides and listen to their versions. It does not reflect well on Delhi cricket if the curator and captain can’t get along,” the DDCA official said.
During the Ranji Trophy season, when Delhi was forced to return to the Kotla since the ground at the Roshanara Club was not available due to New Year celebrations, Sundaram, in an outburst, had claimed that Gambhir was trying to fiddle with the pitches.
“If you have to fiddle with pitches so much, then you are not fit to play Test cricket,” Sundaram had said while referring to Gambhir.