On Tuesday, the Delhi under-16 team piled on 502 for three on the first day of their Vijay Merchant Trophy (under-16) match against Bihar before declaring their innings. They then had Bihar reeling at 52 four by stumps.
Right-handed No. 3 batsman Sachin hammered 231 in 199 balls while opener Sarthak Ray scored 128 off 104 balls. No. 4 batsman Pranav Pant also chipped in with unbeaten 122 off 120 balls.
But that wasn’t the big news of the day from the Railway Ground in Vadodara, where the match is being played.
The news that overshadowed it all, at least on social media, was that former India dashing opener Virender Sehwag’s 15-year-old son Aryaveer was drafted into the squad of 15.
Aryaveer had been in the list of 20-odd members travelling with the team but eventually made the squad on Tuesday morning as the 15th name in the team sheet.
Aryaveer’s inclusion comes as a massive surprise to those who followed the trial matches which were held to pick the probables for the squad. He had failed miserably with the bat and wasn’t even among the top 80 in the list of top run-getters in those trial matches.
Aryaveer aggregated 38 runs in three matches with scores of 19, 17 and 2 in the three matches he played. There are four others who have aggregated 38 in the list. He also does not even have any wicket to suggest that he was included as a bowler.
The initial trials had taken place in June-July with all 76 private Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) clubs participating. Every club was given three matches each of 50 overs.
On the basis of the performance in those matches, 178 players were selected, out of which only 156 survived the medical test.
The DDCA then made 12 teams from those 156 players and divided them into three groups of four teams each with each team getting three matches in the trials conducted in October.
These trial matches were two-day games with each day of 90 overs.
The list was whittled down to 1/3rd and these 50-odd players were handed over to the selectors who then culled it further.
As per the performance in the matches for 156 players, Sehwag’s son, Aryaveer, should not have been even among the top 80 players. But here, he finds himself as a member of the Delhi squad of 15.
In the list of 156, there are three who amassed in excess of 300 runs, eight who collected between 200 and 299 runs while 22 aggregated between 100 and 199.
As many as 48 of the players aggregated between 39 (above Aryavir’s 38) and 99.
While many in DDCA are seething in anger at what they call nepotism and a mockery of the selection procedure, the chief selector Akash Malhotra says that the selection committee has seen potential in him.
“He plays well and middles the ball. He is attractive in the nets. Even in the matches, he was playing well. He has potential,” he told Patriot.
Asked if Aryaveer will play, Malhotra replied, “He is an attacking batsman and he will play in future.”
Malhotra said that he had scored well in a match last season.
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