Delhi selectors squabble while picking U-25 team, one walks out

Selector Mayank Sidana leaves the selection meeting and registers dissent after his suggestions shot down, chief selector Gagan Khoda says selectors’ job was to pick best team which they did

Mayank Sidana

The Delhi under-25 team selection meeting on Wednesday got embroiled in controversy after one of the three selectors, Mayank Sidana, staged a walkout due to difference in opinion with the other two selectors as well secretary of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), Siddharth Verma.

The squad was finalised in his absence and uploaded on the official website. It left for Hyderabad on Thursday.

Sidana, a former Punjab Ranji Trophy player, shot an email to the DDCA after the announcement of the 20-member squad stating, “I don’t agree with this team. I stick to my dissent.”

Sidana told Patriot that he had objections to certain selections.

“I was upset because the chairman of selectors Gagan Khoda had not attended any selection trial match and was not aware of the performances in the trial matches. I had seen players from close quarters. Whatever name I had suggested was opposed and I had to walk out and said that I didn’t want to be part of the selection committee meeting. The other selector Anil Bhardwaj appeared to have vested interest in a player and was agreeable to everything that secretary Verma and Khoda decided on,” complained Sidhana.

He further added that the head coach Pankaj Singh had been invited in an earlier meeting but was not invited to the meeting on Wednesday, the day Sidana walked out.

Pankaj confirmed that he wasn’t invited.

“I had also made certain suggestions which were accepted. But I had objected to certain players but they were still selected,” he said.

Chief selector Gagan Khoda, however, did not agree to the criticism, saying, “I don’t agree with whatever he is saying. It is not true. He is making such a fuss. As selectors, our job is to pick the best team and be concerned with Delhi cricket. We are well aware of the performances of the players.”

Gagan Khoda

He further said that no coach, let alone Pankaj, sits in the team meeting.

“It is only the captain who sits in team meetings. When I was the national selector, I never saw Ravi Shastri sitting in team meetings. It was only the India captain. We do make exceptions. Abhay Sharma, the Ranji coach sat, but it was in only one meeting and that too for his suggestions. The norm is to have only the captain and that too for his opinion. It is the selectors who make the final call.”

A squad of 20 players flew to Hyderabad on Thursday. It included 17 members for the main squad and three players from Delhi under-19 team – Hardik Sharma, Raghav Singh and Sujal Singh — who have been sent just to gain experience and won’t be playing any match, said Khoda.

Delhi’s first match of Col CK Nayudu Trophy (U-25) begins on January 8 in Hyderabad.

 

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