The wrangling among office bearers in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) spilled over to the upcoming cricket season as three separate lists of players for the pre-season camp were issued on official letterheads by three different officials on Sunday.
Former Test opener Chetan Chauhan, a DDCA vice-president, Anil Jain, joint-secretary (sports), and Ashok Sharma, an executive committee member, released their respective lists, which directed players to report for the pre-season camp at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Monday.
Though senior players, including India Test skipper Virat Kohli, Gautam Gambhir, Shikhar Dhawan, Ashish Nehra and Ishant Sharma, are included in all the three lists for the pre-season camp, the total number of players in each list varies — from 44 to 57.
Moreover, the reporting time for the first day of the pre-season camp has added to confusion among the players. The list signed by Chauhan marks the time as 8.30 am, while Jain and Sharma have asked the players to be at the stadium at 8am. What adds to the muddle is that Chauhan has named former medium-pacer Madan Lal as mentor, to be assisted by another medium-pacer Amit Bhandari. On the other hand Sharma states that former wicket-keeper batsman Surender Khanna will also be part of the coaching set-up along with Lal and Bhandari.
Incidentally, Jain has asked the players to report to him directly. What is clear, however, is that the office-bearers are pulling in different directions. With the Ranji Trophy season scheduled to start on October 1, the DDCA is yet to form a selection panel.
What has added to the mess is that the final results of the sports working committee elections have not yet been announced. The sports working committee and the executive committee are the decision makers in the DDCA but with the results of the elections still awaited, and both committees fraught with in-fighting, the functioning of the association has been affected.
Chauhan said with the season around the corner there was no time to waste in announcing the date of the pre-season camp and the names of the probables.
“The list which I have signed on is final. I have consulted the chairman of last season’s selection committee Rakesh Shukla, selector Vinay Lamba and also representatives of both the contesting factions of the sports working committee.
Last season’s performances in Ranji Trophy, Under-22 and Under-19 games have also been given weightage. This list of 44 is for the pre-season camp. Once the selection committee is formed the team can be trimmed,” Chauhan said.
However, Jain said Chauhan has no authority to name the players for the pre-season camp. “I am the joint secretary (sports) and as the working committee election results are not announced yet, I have issued the list of players after consulting Gautam Gambhir, who has been named skipper. The list comprises players who were named as probables of the T20 tournament last year and we have added the names of a couple of players who are deserving,” Jain said.
“As vice-president, Chauhan has no authority to release a list of players,” the DDCA joint secretary (sports) added.
Sharma, who has released a list of 57 players, the largest among the three announced on Sunday, said his was an inclusive list, which ensured that ‘players with merit’ were not left out.
“None of the players who have potential must be left out. It is time DDCA officials put cricket over politics. My aim was to ensure no player missed out on an opportunity to play for Delhi because of politics of the officials,” Sharma said.