A bunch of players leave Mumbai to play for other states; former selector backs Agarkar.
All of them have boarded for their flights from the same airport but the destinations will be different for respective players who have decided to move from the Mumbai domestic team owing to lack of opportunity. Shashank Singh, Harmeet Singh, Bravish Shetty and Abhishek Nayar have all received No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA).
The selectors have been under fire for neglecting the domestic competitions in the likes of Kanga League and Police Shield Tournament. Parsee Gymkhana vice-president and cricket secretary, Khodadad Yazdergardi has been demanding the removal of the current selector’s panel headed by Ajit Agarkar for the same reason.
However, on Monday, the MCA rejected the plea to call for a Special General Meeting (SGM) and if it does occur, it will be null and void. Yazdegardi says he will not step back. He has been stern on the elimination of Agarkar and Co. for about a month and says he will soon have a meeting with Dilip Vengsarkar to find a solution.
“A legend like Dilip Vengsarkar has also realised that these selectors are playing with careers of budding players. I am not stepping back and I will fight for this. I will soon have meeting with him (Vengsarkar) to find a way out,” he says.
A former selector who has worked closely with Agarkar backs the chief selector. “He has played a fantastic part for Mumbai and India in his days. No one praises the selectors if they win the trophy or anything. Not even one appreciation letter we have seen. Suddenly, there is an SGM against them? There are over 300 clubs in the city, how can they expect them to see each and every game? Ajit is a believer of having stability and this is rubbish,” says an infuriated former selector.
Harmeet and Bravish have departed for the Tripura domestic squad. While the former landed on Tuesday, the latter has already reached. The reason was same as well. They wanted to be on the pitch and perform on the domestic level instead of waiting to get a call in the probable’s list.
The decision came after exasperating series of events for Harmeet. He was waiting till Sunday to perform in the Kanga League match scheduled on Sunday but the fixtures were washed out due to bad weather. “When it’s raining they call for games and when it’s not, the matches are cancelled,” says Harmeet who grabbed over 70 wickets in club cricket the last season including a nine-wicket haul in Kanga League.
He was serving a cooling-off period because he left to play for Jammu and Kashmir and according to MCA’s rule, a player cannot play for Mumbai for a year after returning from another state. The left-arm spinner was biding his time grabbing wickets turbulently. Now he has moved to Tripura’s team to fulfil his ultimate dream of playing for India some day.
“See, I am 25 right now. If I get a chance, I know that I can prove myself and I have no hard feeling for Mumbai. It is just that I need some time to play on the domestic level. Tripura is a good unit as wel,” adds Harmeet who represented India twice in respective Under-19 World Cups.
On the other hand, Shashank Singh and Abhishek Nayar will both move to a newly formed Puducherry team. Nayar was hoping to play his 100th first class match with Mumbai only to be ignored.
Conversely, Shashank bid an emotional goodbye to everyone here from management to media. “I am grateful that I had the support,” he said over the phone seeking an NOC from MCA.
“I have no regret or anger against anyone here. I will pursue my M. Com degree from Pondicherry (Puducherry) so I will play for the team over there. The decision involves getting enough time for my education,” he says.
Since these players have left Mumbai, it is learned that there could be more that will follow. The selectors were not forthcoming with news on the players who will replace them in the squad.