Former India all-rounder Kirti Azad has applied for the post of selector in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). Azad, who played 142 First-Class games, including seven Test matches, has raised issues of corruption, biased selection and age-fraud in the state unit for years.
Azad said has applied for the post of selector with the intention to help Delhi regain its glory days of the 1970s to the early 90s when the team reached a dozen finals and won the Ranji Trophy six times.
“I have been a national selector and during my time, Gautam Gambhir got into the Indian side. A young Shikhar Dhawan, who played Under-19 cricket, was brought into the Delhi team. I want the glorious days of Delhi cricket to come back. I am basically a sportsperson at heart and a politician by choice. There was an opening to serve the game of cricket which has given me so much, so I applied for it,” Azad said.
A member of the 1983 World Cup-winning team, Azad had differences with former DDCA president and union minister Arun Jaitley. He was expelled from the BJP for anti-party activities in 2015 after targeting Jaitley over irregularities in the association. Jaitley’s son Rohan is the current DDCA president.
“Those issues had nothing to do with cricket. It was a point of view. If there are 10 people sitting in a room, there are different views. But yes, certain facts had to be looked into. I did raise issues of corruption, but what does that have to do with now? I have congratulated him (Rohan) and extended all my support. He is wanting to do well, I am like a father-figure to him and I think we should support such youngsters,” Azad said.
Talking about the challenges of being a selector in a state association where there have been allegations of favouritism and age-related fraud in the past, Azad said: “Age fraud wasn’t raised by me only. Even Rahul Dravid raised the issue during the Pataudi lecture. I suppose this is an issue everybody would say we should have a look into. It is not difficult to make selections (transparent) as long as you are honest to yourself.”
The 61-year-old Congress politician believes that giving cricket clubs the right support will see the game progress in the Capital.
“I would say that the clubs have been serving Delhi cricket for a long time. We need to give a lot of impetus to the clubs. I have heard that the DDCA wants to set up academies, which are very necessary now. In our time, we only had a manager in the side and nobody else. But now with new technology which has come in, we have to compete with other states. I am happy that the academies are going to be established. The club structure has to be improved, because it has been the clubs that have been the supply line.”
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