Bhandari Assault: DDCA bans U-23 player Anuj Dedha for life

It was former Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir, a member of DDCA’s apex council, who proposed a life ban for Dedha.

After being rejected for the state U-23 team, Dedha along with his hired goons had attacked senior and U-23 selection committee chairman Bhandari.   -  THE HINDU PHOTO ARCHIVES

Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) president Rajat Sharma on Wednesday took a strict view of the assault on international cricketer Amit Bhandari and decided to ban Anuj Dedha, who allegedly led the attack at the St. Stephen's College ground on Monday.

Dedha will not be allowed to play in any format of cricket in Delhi. The incident took place when Bhandari, along with fellow selectors Sukhvinder Singh and Mohan Chaturvedi, was engaged in selecting the Delhi team for the forthcoming Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament.

READ | Former India pacer Bhandari assaulted at U-23 trials

“This is unacceptable. We had to take this action to send a strong message to the cricket fraternity. There is zero tolerance for such violence and corruption and I have assured all the stakeholders connected with the game to have faith in DDCA,” said Sharma.

Safety measures

The incident and the follow-up were discussed at the review committee. “I wanted to assure the selector and the support staff of all age groups not to fear anyone,” added Sharma. It was also brought to his notice that Bhandari had received threats a few days ago.

“In future, selectors will have to inform us if they receive threats. Anyone receiving any threat can inform me personally. We have decided that no one, other than the player reporting for trials, would have access to the ground. We will also inform the police in advance of the venue where the trials would be held. Security of the players is paramount,” Sharma stressed.

The DDCA is also planning to hold all trials in the month of April. “Normally they hold the trials in September but it would help everyone if we conduct the trials in April. The idea is to keep an eye on those picked so that they get ample opportunities before they are rejected,” noted Sharma.

Notorious past

Delhi has had many incidents in the past where individuals have believed in muscle power to influence the selectors. Former Delhi captain Vinay Lamba was assaulted at the Ferozeshah Kotla by father of a candidate. Delhi opener Manu Nayyar too had quit as selector following threats and had opted to become a match referee.

On another occasion, former India all-rounder Madan Lal and chief coach of the Delhi team, along with assistant coach Maninder Singh Jaggi, were threatened by a group of goons at the Kotla for rejecting a player. When the said player was picked by the selectors, the then DDCA president Arun Jaitley had sacked them all.

“The selectors have paid the price for being honest. They have now the support of the entire DDCA,” assured Sharma.