The campaign to curtail the powers of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) Sports Committee gained momentum on Wednesday when former Test cricketer and State captain Kirti Azad joined forces with the Union Government nominee Vibhakar Shastri to call for immediate action to cleanse the system.
Their reactions have come in response to a move made by Test batsman Virender Sehwag to stop interference of the Sports Committee in selection matters.
Terming as “unfortunate” Sehwag’s move to opt out of Delhi and play for Haryana if things did not improve, Mr. Shastri condemned the entire episode.
“Disgraceful for the organization,” was his reaction to Sehwag’s public criticism of the manner in which cricket was being conducted at the DDCA.
“When an icon player like Sehwag and seniors like Gautam Gambhir and Ashish Nehra have such poor opinion of their association, then things obviously do not seem healthy. They have alleged interference in selection matters and there is no reason to contest their views. They are right,” said Mr. Shastri.
Azad described it as an “alarming signal” and called for strong action.
“The way things had shaped at the DDCA this was bound to come. We have been talking about it for long, right from the days of (Bishan Singh) Bedi and Madan (Lal). But no one paid any attention. It needed a Sehwag to raise the slogan against the Sports Committee’s functioning. This Sports Committee has never treated cricketers with respect. It should be dismissed,” said Azad.
Mr. Shastri said that though the DDCA had improved infrastructure and Delhi had some talented players, with the association doing some good work, all would be wasted if the organization was not able to promote the game.
“The functioning of the Sports Committee is not conducive to promote cricket and win the faith of the people,” he said.
If Sehwag and the rest move out of Delhi, the game would suffer, said Azad. “At the DDCA there is no respect for Test cricketers. There is no respect for cricketers at all. What cricket does this Sports Committee promote?” said Azad, a Loka Sabha member.
Mr. Shastri said that he had been in touch with DDCA President Arun Jaitely and the latter was disturbed by the happenings and was keen to bring transparency in selection. “We will resolve it in favour of the players because they are the ones who matter the most,” said Mr. Shastri.
Azad pointed out the examples of Mumbai and Bengal in involving former Test cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar and Sourav Ganguly in overseeing cricket matters and lamented the fact that the DDCA did not have a similar system.
“Did not Mr. Jaitley dismiss the entire selection committee a couple of years ago? The DDCA president will have to act strongly again. This time it is the Sports Committee that demands his attention,” said Azad.