Delhi cricket’s steep slide: Association sits on report that flagged what’s wrong | Cricket News

The Delhi Drict Cricket Association (DDCA) has a “compromised and conflicted” selection process that passes the chief selector and is marked “rampant interference” of its officials.This is the key point flagged in a scathing indictment DDCA’s Technical Expert Group (TEG) in the wake of Delhi’s dismal showing last season. The group, chosen DDCA, includes two 1983 World Cup winners Madan Lal and Sunil Valson and first-class player Vinay Lamba, was set up before the start of the 2022-23 season.
Delhi had finished sixth in Group B in last season’s Ranji Trophy and failed to qualify for  the knockouts this season too.
The TEG report, submitted last March, is part of a police complaint filed in December 2023 at the IP Estate Police Station one Avdesh Sharma, that names top DDCA officials accusing them of mismanagement and corruption.
According to the TEG report, DDCA joint-secretary (Rajan Manchanda) told the TEG that he was only following instructions of president Rohan Jaitley. Lamba, a member of the TEG, confirmed that the issue was “related to team selection.” On Page 2, the report also mentions that “everyone had a direct line to the president (Jaitley).”
When contacted, Madan Lal and Lamba confirmed that the report was emailed to DDCA president Jaitley. “A copy was emailed to DDCA president Rohan Jaitley and secretary Siddharth Sahib Singh,” Lamba said.
Lal told The Indian Express, “Whatever we have mentioned in the report, I stand it. Our aim of conducting the review was to inform the association about how to improve the standard of Delhi cricket. We have spoken to selectors and coaches and a couple of senior players and after that we prepared this report. Whatever is in the report is what they have told us.”
Asked about these allegations, Jaitley said: “The TEG members met me before they were to submit the report. But I never got the report. If I had read the contents of the report and there were major issues, then I would have referred it to the Apex Council.”
On the issue of his alleged interference in team selection as flagged the TEG report, Jaitley said: “If people told the TEG that they were following my instructions for team selection, why didn’t the TEG ask me for my version? The TEG didn’t give me an opportunity to speak. Anyone can say anything, but it need not be the truth. I am willing to talk to the TEG members and discuss their findings. I am all for implementing reforms in Delhi cricket.”
Lamba said that the findings in the report were painstakingly put together but it seems to have been brushed under the carpet. “We told them (DDCA office-bearers) that they should go through it thoroughly and try to bring about changes. The TEG report was not meant to target a person but for the betterment of Delhi cricket. We emailed the report to the president and secretary. We (TEG) were given the responsibility them. But got no response,” he said.
Lamba said that the TEG had dissuaded selectors from picking jumbo teams for tournaments. In November, the team (Under-16) for the Vijay Merchant Trophy had 21 players but an extra 23 were asked to reger themselves as backups in case of injury.
Jaitley, however, said the additional players were called up because of fitness issues and the age verification.
“We had made it very clear that the culture of sending jumbo teams — 24 to 30 players — had to stop,” Lamba said.
Lal added that DDCA didn’t get in touch with TEG members before the start of the current season.
“This year when the season started we were not called, so I think DDCA decided to discontinue our services,” Lal said.
In an email, DDCA’s Interim CEO and GM R R Singh said Sharma “lacks credibility”.
“The complaint relies upon a purported report of a Technical Expert Group (TEG). It is made clear that no such report has been received the DDCA from the TEG. The veracity of the purported report is (under) doubt,” Singh wrote.
The email also stated that Sharma was trying to “arm tw DDCA” to get his son and nephew selected in the team.
“It is pertinent to point out herein that Mr. Avdesh Sharma is facing a criminal complaint (along with his wife Mahima Sharma and son Anirudh Sharma) of age fraud falsifying the age record… The Hon’ble Ombudsman, DDCA is seized of the complaint. The Delhi Police is investigating a Complaint dated 09.02.2024 a third party who has acted as a whleblower. DDCA had received a notice dated 20.02.2024 from the investigation officer seeking relevant information and records from the DDCA in this regard, which have been furnished on 22.02.2024.”
A senior police officer said an inquiry was conducted following Sharma’s complaint.
“The Supreme Court-appointed Ombudsman may be the right forum for such a complaint. We did not find any specific cognizable offence. We have also received a complaint from the DDCA against the complainant (after he filed a complaint against them) and are enquiring into it,” the officer said.
When contacted, Sharma said he did not want to comment on the allegations related to his son. “I filed the complaint but didn’t pursue it as that is the job of the police,” Sharma said Thursday.
The TEG review paints a sorry state of Delhi cricket. It says teams were poorly prepared, there were last minute appointments of coaches, selectors and support staff, lack of strategy or vision. It also mentions that players — even juniors — lacked fitness and were hiding injuries, and “many did not have commitment to Delhi”.
This Ranji Trophy season, Delhi lost the season opener to Puducherry, one of the nine new teams added to the domestic circuit five years ago. Delhi failed to reach the knockouts yet again after three wins, two losses and two draws. Moreover, 10 cricketers played just one game before being omitted while a total of 27 players represented Delhi in the seven games. The last time Delhi progressed to the knockouts of the Ranji Trophy was in 2017.

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