As Delhi team stares down barrel, DDCA president Rohan Jaitley blames selectors for lack of planning, mud-slinging and street-fighting

On the day, Delhi suffered humiliating innings and 214-run defeat at the hands of Saurashtra inside three days, the blame game began at the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA). Rohan Jaitley, DDCA president, in a letter to the Apex Council members and the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), has put the onus on selectors and blamed the Gagan Khoda-led Selection committee for their “scant commitment” towards the Delhi cricket. Jaitley has also called for appropriate action by the CAC.

DDCA director Shyam Sundar has also called for the sacking of the selection committee. Four matches, two points and a seventh place among 8 teams on the points table in Group B means Delhi is staring at relegation.

Things have turned ugly with in-fighting within the selection committee and a walkout too. Chopping and changing of the squad and injuries haven’t helped.

Questions have also been raised about injury-management and fitness of players. Jaitley, who himself wanted to bring in selectors from outside the state, for the season, like a Khoda from Rajasthan, seems to have quickly lost patience and passed the buck as things have spiralled out of control.

For young Delhi skipper Yash Dhull, the Under-19 World Cup winning captain, the muddle in Delhi cricket has only made his baptism by fire even tougher.

In his letter, Jaitley also talks about selectors ‘mud-slinging’ and ‘street-fighting’ and blames them, including Khoda who is a former national selector, for the entire mess.

“Despite giving free hand and full support I am pained to note that the selection committee has failed to do any good for the players of Delhi in general and Delhi team in particular. There is an absolute lack of planning for Delhi Cricket is apparent on the face of it more so with regard to the vision and future course as discussed and planned for the long-term goals set out by the management with an objective to bring back the lost glory of Delhi cricket. It is unfortunate that the Selection Committee has shown scant commitment to the same,” Jaitley wrote in his letter which has been seen by The Indian Express.

Jaitley’s letter came a day after Mayank Sidana, a senior team and under-25 Delhi selector, staged a walkout from a meeting following  a fallout with chairman of selectors Khoda and secretary Siddharth Sahib Singh. Sidana, an out-station selector from Punjab, did not sign the team sheet.

Khoda blamed Sidana for the rift among the selection committee members.

“I have never played in Delhi and I am a person who has got no agenda. But when I saw him (Sidana) taking just one name repeatedly, it amused me and the rest of the people in the meeting. Things will not always go according to your wish. I fail to understand why he walked out. He is the one, who is not on the same page, rest we all are,” Khoda, a former national selector, told The Indian Express.

Former Delhi batsman and coach KP Bhaskar has blamed the policy of opting for selectors from outside Delhi and the lack of continuity in the playing XI for Delhi’s abysmal season.

“How can you pick selectors, who know nothing about Delhi cricket? I don’t approve of this theory of calling selectors from the outside. One has played his cricket for Rajasthan, the other has played for Punjab,” Bhaskar, who has played 95 first-class matches for Delhi and coached the team to final in 2017-18 season, told The Indian Express.

“In the previous regime, those who had replaced me as a coach might not have done a good job. Fair enough. The selectors and the CAC may have been biased towards certain people. But that doesn’t give you the right to believe that every egg in the basket is rotten. There are some good people, who have done an honest job.

“The other thing is the continuous chopping and changing from the playing XI and there is an absolute lack of continuity. This has resulted in a sense of insecurity among the players,” Bhaskar said.

In his letter, Jaitley writes about the injury mismanagement and lack of clarity about who is fit and who is not.

“Recently in a meeting, it was informed that a replacement was sent for a senior player who was stated to be injured, the replacement while reaching there was also declared to be injured and another replacement was sent. Shockingly, the very player who was first stated to be injured (originally travelled with the team) played all the matches,” the letter noted.

“The role of selectors is that which is aptly summarised in the saying that ‘Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion’. It is apparent that the Selectors are engaging in personal affairs more than serving Delhi Cricket. They have indulged in mudslinging and street fighting instead of serving the cause of players and Delhi Cricket. I am aghast at the manner in which the Selections are being done and the selection committee is conducting itself.”

Jaitley, in the letter, added that ‘the current Delhi team has not a single player, who can be tipped to be a potential candidate for the national team.’

“DDCA had produced remarkable cricketers and has seen its multiple players representing the country in various formats. There was a time when the Indian team would have at least 4 to 5 Delhi players. The situation today is such that we cannot name even a single player whom we (the management as well as the selectors) perceive as a potential candidate for the national team,” Jaitley said.

Jaitley’s remarks are interesting because Dhull, who scored three centuries last season, has managed just one fifty in the seven innings this season.

Brief Scores: Delhi 133 and 227 in 63.5 overs (Ayush Badoni 40, Hrithik Shokeen 51; Yuvrajsinh Dodiya 5/91) lost to Saurashtra 574 for 8 decl in 147.2 overs

Delhi’s upcoming fixtures:  
vs Andhra (Jan 10 – 13)  
vs Mumbai (Jan 17-20)
vs Hyderabad (Jan 24-27)

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