New Delhi: After being dumped unceremoniously by the selectors, veteran all-rounder Rajat Bhatia on Thursday said that one "can't expect anything from an association like DDCA (Delhi and District Cricket Association)", which he feels has taken Delhi cricket to its nadir amid "perennial infighting".
After serving for more than a decade, Bhatia has been dropped from Delhi's Ranji opener against Rajasthan primarily due to the insistence of skipper Gautam Gambhir.
"I turned up at the nets yesterday (Wednesday) only to find out that hardly anything was in place a week before the first Ranji game. There were not enough balls to practice with and something as basic as drinking water was also hard to find. And then later in the day, I found out that I was dropped from the team. I have not seen a worse time (in Delhi cricket) than this," an angry and equally hurt Bhatia told PTI a day after being sacked without notice.
Gambhir played a substantial role in selecting the team on Wednesday but when asked for a specific reason behind his axe, Bhatia spoke his mind although stopped short of taking a dig at his longtime teammate.
"We all now how DDCA works. The association is in a mess, so much so that it has become an open secret. They will only think about the players only after they get time off from chasing proxy votes or serving their own interest or fighting over who is going to be in the sports committee.
"As far as Gautam is concerned, I can only wish him all the best for the season. If he thinks I don't fit in the team anymore, then so be it. It is not the end of the road for me. I will continue training. I have just come from England where I spent three months playing club cricket. I still have a few years left in me," said the 35-year-old, who has 95 first-class and 93 list A matches under his belt.
Though the 15-man squad is only for the opener against Rajasthan, starting October 1, Bhatia doesn't see himself being recalled to the side. He is in a rather tricky situation with the deadline for inter-state transfer already over leaving him with no option to fall back upon.
His IPL career is also in a limbo with Rajasthan Royals being banned from the competition for two years. "It would have been better had the DDCA informed me earlier (that he won't be considered). That way I could have planned my future. I am a player and my job is to play for whichever team I can. I don't think I can play for any other state this season, so I will just continue training," he said.
Notwithstanding the mess that Delhi cricket finds itself in, Bhatia hopes the team does well in the upcoming season. "The preparation as I see has been far from ideal. It is impossible for the young players not to be affected by the happenings of the DDCA. However, I hope they do well and Delhi win the Ranji title again," Bhatia was explosive during the interview.
For Bhatia, little could be expected of an association which does not even have time and respect for its legends. "Greats like Bishan Singh Bedi and Madan Lal tried their best to improve the functioning of DDCA but even they could not do much. If senior players like Virender Sehwag and Mithun Manhas have decided to play for other teams, you can imagine what the state of affairs are in DDCA. Having said that, things can only go up from here and I still hope that things change," he concluded....