New Delhi: Amidst chaos and confusion, the Delhi Ranji Trophy probables started their training at the Feroz Shah Kotla with captain Gautam Gambhir taking charge of the nets even as DDCA vice-president Chetan Chauhan seemed to have softened his stance on former India left-hander.
There was an eerie silence at the Kotla this morning before Delhi's training started with around 45 players named in DDCA joint secretary Anil Jain's list. The players reported to Jain before Chauhan even arrived and as per circular, it was Gambhir, who was in control.
While Gambhir didn't take part in the customary net session, he looked in total control as he decided on the batting order at the nets and also the bowlers he wanted to have a look at.
It seemed like a High School trial with so many players in attendance and a few who had no clue as to what they were doing over there.
The absentees were all India or India A players like Virat Kohli (taking rest), Shikhar Dhawan (recuperating from injury), Ishant Sharma (rest), Unmukt Chand (on India A duty). The other senior Rajat Bhatia, who many feel is the captaincy candidate of Chauhan faction, did not turn up for training today, nor did Ashish Nehra, who is unlikely to play any four-day games this time.
The notable absentee was former India all-rounder Madan Lal, who was appointed 'Mentor-cum-Advisor' by Chauhan group. While Chauhan maintained that Lal would be dropping in a couple of days time, a DDCA insider said, "Madan Lal is a man who values his self respect. If a man of his stature comes and does not get respect he deserves, it is better he stays away."
However another former Delhi stalwart Surinder Khanna was seen at the nets as his name as a 'Mentor' was enlisted in DDCA executive committee director Ashok Sharma's panel.
But during the entire duration of the net session, not for once did Gambhir and Khanna interact. Gambhir remained tightlipped when mediapersons wanted to ask him questions about the ongoing mess at DDCA.
The players who batted at the nets were Nitish Rana, Himmat Singh, Vaibhav Rawal, Milind Kumar -- some of the players who were closely watched at the nets by Gambhir. While Chauhan has still not warmed up to the idea of Gambhir leading the side, he did concede that the India discard may be in charge till the new selection committee is formed and then a decision on captain will be taken.
"We will try and form the new selection committee in a couple of days. If the new selection committee appoints Gambhir, then he will be the captain," said Chauhan. There is still no clarity on why last year's coach Vijay Dahiya has not been summoned till date.
The names of probable selectors doing rounds include Rahul Sanghvi, Sarandeep Singh, Ravi Sehgal to name a few.