Lot rotten in Delhi cricket: ex-players

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Aug 18, 2009 at 06:08pm IST

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New Delhi: Virender Sehwag's revolt against the Delhi and District Cricket Association has got support from within, with DDCA vice-president Chetan Chauhan confirming the allegations of nepotism made by the batsman.

Chauhan told CNN-IBN on phone that several players were chosen to play for Delhi not on the basis of their abilities but because of recommendations by influential people.

The former India opener said he had spoken to Sehwag and that the star batsman will meet DDCA president Arun Jaitley on August 22.

THAT'S NOT CRICKET: Virendra Sehwag says players are not treated fairly in Delhi.

Chauhan's admission came after Sehwag got support from his fellow Delhi players Gautam Gambhir, Ishant Sharma and Ashish Nehra. The three told The Indian Express that they may also quit the squad if Sehwag does.

"I am completely behind Sehwag. There is a need to bring about transparency in the selection process. If things don't improve, I will not hesitate to move out of Delhi this year itself," said Gambhir.

Ishant Sharma has also echoed Gambhir's views. He said: "I am in complete support of Viru Bhai. He is absolutely right about selection issues and things can definitely be much better."

Ashish Nehra felt that this is probably the last chance the DDCA has to get things right.

"The manner in which the DDCA functions, I wouldn't hesitate for a second to leave Delhi," he was quoted as saying.

On Monday, Sehwag dropped a bombshell by threatening to walk out of the Delhi Ranji Trophy team, alleging nepotism in the selection procedure. The charge was rejected outright by the DDCA officials. The big question now is if Sehwag will relent after meeting with DDCA President Arun Jaitley later this month.

The shocker was buried inside a daily newspaper on Monday morning, with Sehwag saying he has had enough of playing cricket in Delhi, the team he has played for over the last decade, and not without reason.

"In Ranji Trophy selection, it has often happened that four selectors get together and vote for 'their' players, leaving the chairman of the committee and me defeated. Especially when I am on national duty, they put pressure on the stand-in captains and the interference becomes more rampant," he told the paper.

"This manipulation has been going on for many years," he added. "What is the point in continuing to play for such an association where there is so much corruption?"

Sehwag, who is at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, was tight-lipped when waylaid by a persistent media after the story broke. His next step is a meeting with DDCA President Arun Jaitley which will determine whether he stays a Delhi player or not.

The DDCA, however, seems determined not be cowed down. Sehwag needs a No-Objection Certificate from the association if he is to move on to play for another state. But after such strong words against the association, rebuilding bridges will be a hard task.

"I am very disappointed," says DDCA sports secretary Sunil Dev. "It's a small thing, it happens in a family. One should not go and talk to the neighbours. If at all, speak to your family."

Although Sehwag plays very little domestic cricket because of his commitments with the national team, when around he is an inspirational figure. So his colleagues in the Delhi dressing room are keeping their fingers crossed.

"I absolutely see it getting resolved the moment Mr Jaitley and Virender Sehwag will sit together," says Delhi coach Vijay Dahiya. "They are definitely going to figure out a few things."

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