High drama unfolded at the selection trials of the Indian physically challenged cricket team as five players decided to not participate in the trials, claiming that it was conducted in an unfair manner at the Mulund’s indoor facility yesterday. A 15-member squad is set to be selected today that will represent India in a tournament conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which will be played in Bangladesh in September.
Former India skipper Ajit Wadekar-headed All India Cricket Association for the Physically Challenged (AICAPC) and Faridabad-based Physically Challenged Cricket Association (PCCAI) had proposed to send their respective teams for the competition. However, the organisers asked them to send a combined team for the tournament and asked AICAPC to select the “best team” that will represent India.
AICAPC was handed the responsibility to select the team, as they are the oldest body working towards giving opportunities to physically challenged cricketers.
The selection committee headed by former India cricketer Umesh Kulkarni included three selectors of AICAPC and one from PCCAI. While 60 AICAPC-affiliated players were called for the trials, PCCAI was asked to send only seven players.
All the five players — Tushar Paul, Abdul Khalid, Ravi Patil, Ravinder Panse and Vikrant Keni — who refused to participate further belong to PCCAI.
Ravi Chauhan, who is the founder Secretary of PCCAI, alleged that selection of players was unfair. “Some AICAPC players who have never played with the season ball have been selected. There was one player who came from Gujarat today and has been selected in the 30 probables without any trial. My players were given only a few balls to face in the nets before the selectors decided their fate. This is unfair and unjust. Looking at the treatment meted to them, they (five shortlisted players) have decided to not participate further,” Chauhan said.
Vivek Kadam, PCCAI-deputed selector, said: “We (selection committee) had jointly decided on 30 names on Thursday and submitted them to AICAPC. I couldn’t go today as I had an important event to attend at my office. But I came to know that they removed four players affiliated to PCCAI for no reason.”
The 84-year-old AICAPC Secretary TP Mirajkar rubbished all claims. “The selection committee is an independent body. No one interferes in their work. To claim that trials were not conducted in a fair manner is baseless. All players were given at least four to five overs to showcase their skills. Chauhan wanted all his seven players to be included because they made it to the trials. The selectors have chosen players on their merit. So many of our players are also not selected. So to say that there was partiality is not correct. All players have been treated equally and fairly,” Mirajkar said.