The cricket fraternity was appalled when Under-23 cricketer Anuj Dedha physically assaulted former India pacer and Delhi selector Amit Bhandari for not picking him in the U-23 state squad.
Former Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir, a member of the Delhi apex council, the District Cricket Association (DDCA) immediately slapped a life ban on Anuj. His dream of playing for the state in now over.
This incident could have easily set a dangerous precedent if not dealt with sharply. Cricket expert and sportswriter Ayaz Memon admits that the incident clearly shows that those who are in a position of authority are vulnerable. He say, “Players are selected based on their performance, age, exuberance, etc., so the selection procedure is purely a subjective choice and not a scientific one. Yes, there will be disagreements, but you can’t take the law into your hands.”
While Anuj’s act has been described as a ‘rarity’, fingers are being pointed towards how anxious players feel after being left out. Remember the ugly fiasco between Ambati Rayudu and Arjun Yadav (son of former India player and then selector Shivlal Yadav) in 2006? The repercussions not only had a young Rayudu missing out on great opportunities, but till date, he is best remembered for that horrible brawl.
Violence kills your chance
Former India player Arun Lal comments that players by nature are not aggressive. However, agreeing that players definitely feel devastated when not selected, they cannot let anger get the better of them. They have to show their aggression by letting their game do the talking.
“It happens to every cricketer. Sometimes, they get hard decisions but that’s what the game (cricket) teaches the player how to handle such disappointments and also how to conduct themselves,” Arun Lal elucidates, adding, “Violence cannot take a player anywhere.”
Not every performance will lead to a selection and this is what players should learn to accept.
Sridharan Sharath, Chairman of Tamil Nadu senior selection committee, explains that cricket is a long game and players must understand this and exhibit great endurance. While the selectors have the difficult job of picking up the best aspirants, the onus lies on the respective state cricket boards to set up proper administration committees. John Manoj, former HCA selector and secretary blames the lack of a strong administration committee for such incidents. He adds that players should follow the protocol to express their grievance.
“Sometimes, the selection could be biased but players should first give it in writing to the board secretary and then await the process.”
Selectors do their job to the best of their ability while players invest all their effort and time over the years, yet, it may still not guarantee a place in the team. While every player feels that they deserve to be on the team, what can they do if they do not get picked? The Indian women’s cricket team’s first ever captain and current Chairman of Karnataka State Cricket Association (all age-groups), Shantha Rangaswamy, sheds light on having an ‘alternate career’.
“I keep talking to parents and young cricketers who come for selection for U-16 and U-19 and thoroughly create awareness about the significance of having other options,” Shantha says, adding, “I tell all the players that if they’re not selected, it’s not the end of the world. They should always have a Plan B to fall back on.”...