ALTHOUGH they hailed from different cities,Ankeet Chavan,27,and Ajit Chandila,29,were teammates long before they came together under the Rajasthan Royals banner,having represented Air India for a number of years. The two spinners are now caught in the same web,arrested on Thursday for alleged spot-fixing during the sixth edition of the IPL.
The similarities,however,end there. Having risen through the ranks in Mumbais cut-throat cricket circuit,Chavan had finally cemented his place in the Ranji Trophy squad last season with a string of consistent performances,including a sensational spell of 9/23 against Punjab.
Chandila,on the other hand,has been the quintessential journeyman who started his career in Haryana,plied his trade in Delhis club cricket,before finally getting a delayed taste of success with Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.
Chandilas first-class career has been brief only two Ranji matches for Haryana. However,according to Air India coach Manoj Sharma,the off-spinner has a knack for developing contacts.
Chandila always had a patchy reputation. There were times when he wouldnt accompany us. And people often turned up to inquire about his whereabouts as he owed them money, said Deepak Joon,Air India captain. I am sure he must be getting good money from his IPL contract. But if he was worried about paying his debts,there are safer options, he added.
For Chavan,the spot-fixing allegations couldnt have come at a worse time he was scheduled to get married in a fortnight. His family members,who were busy with the wedding preparations,are in a state of shock.
He hardly had time to help with the wedding preparations as he was travelling so much. So we have been running around,trying to make all the arrangements. I cannot express our shock when he called up at around 8:45 am today,saying that he had been arrested by the Delhi Police and was being taken to Delhi, said his elder brother,Nihar Chavan.
Chavans coach,Satish Samant,said he was not at all money-minded. Three years ago,he was not part of the Mumbai team… he wanted to pursue an MBA degree. I still cannot believe that he could have done something like this, said Samant.
Having grown up next to Shivaji Park,a cricketing venue steeped in history and tradition,cricket always played an integral role in Chavans life. Why will he do this? He is at the peak of his career. He performed brilliantly for Mumbai and this is his best season so far. We are all speechless, said Nihar.