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Posted at: Feb 12, 2019, 8:56 AM; last updated: Feb 12, 2019, 8:56 AM (IST)

DDCA chief selector Bhandari beaten up in broad daylight

A group of unidentified men assaults former India pacer; Bhandari points finger at a player not picked up in U-23 team

DDCA chief promises action

  • I have personally spoken to the Delhi Police Commissioner. The guilty will not go unpunished. We will register an FIR. He (Bhandari) is shaken and it is natural. The doctors have advised he should be kept under observation for 24 hours as a precautionary measure. — Rajat Sharma, DDCA president
  • Disgusted to see this happen right in heart of the Capital. This can’t slip under the carpet and I will personally ensure it does not. To begin with, I am calling for a life ban for the player who orchestrated this attack post his non-selection. — Gautam Gambhir, former Delhi captain

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 11

In an incident that lays bare the dark underbelly of Delhi cricket, Amit Bhandari, a former India medium-pacer and the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) chief selector, was attacked by a group of unidentified men, allegedly for not selecting a particular player in the state’s U-23 team, here today. 

He was attacked with hockey sticks and rods during a trial match between the probables for Delhi’s Syed Mushtaq Ali team at the St Stephen’s grounds. He sustained injuries on his head, ears and legs, and was taken to hospital by fellow selector Sukhvinder Singh. In his statement to the police, Bhandari has reportedly accused medium-pacer Anuj Dedha, who failed to make it to the U-23 squad, for the attack.  

“Selectors and coach Mithun Manhas were watching the match when two unidentified persons approached them and had an argument with Bhandari,” said an eyewitness. “The duo left in a huff, returned with around 15 armed persons and attacked Bhandari. He ran for his life, and when the players tried to intervene, they were threatened too. One of the goons said, ‘Don’t get involved or I will shoot you’,” the eyewitness added. 

DDCA president Rajat Sharma said they would act against all those involved in the incident. “We will file an FIR, I’ve had a word with the Delhi Police Commissioner. This is shameful and we cannot let this pass,” he said.

Counterclaim

Sources close to Dedha said he was also injured in the fracas and would file an FIR against Bhandari. “We’ve been told he sustained a cut on his head that required a few stitches. The real picture will emerge in the morning only,” said a person close to the accused. 

DDCA joint secretary Rajan Manchanda, meanwhile, said Bhandari was lucky to get away with minor injuries. “I spoke to a few people present at the spot, and they all were stunned by the audacity and brashness of the attackers. We have to take a strict action, otherwise there may be a situation in the future where we will need to provide security to the selectors,” he said.

Nothing new

It’s not the first time a row has erupted over selections in Delhi. A decade back, one Navdeep Tomar and his supporters had descended on the DDCA premises after he was not selected in the team. Later, the then selection committee comprising Vivek Razdan, Bantu Singh and Sunil Khanna had picked him as the 16th member of the Ranji squad. The entire committee was then sacked by the then president Arun Jaitley for taking decisions that “lack the appearance of fairness and are not being taken on cricketing considerations”.

In 2009, the then Under-19 chief selector was allegedly slapped by a parent of a cricketer after he was ignored despite scoring heavily. The same year Virender Sehwag had threatened to leave DDCA and play for Haryana following a few dodgy selections.

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