Gambhir lights into Bhaskar

Reason for verbal assault unknown.

The cause of Gautam Gambhir’s acerbic outburst was not known, but it was obvious the former India opener is peeved at the appointment of K. P. Bhaskar ahead of his preferred candidate.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

In a shocking incident at the KIIT cricket ground here, former Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir humiliated team coach K.P. Bhaskar with a vitriolic verbal assault in the dressing room at the end of the Vijay Hazare cricket tournament match on Monday.

The diatribe left the young Delhi team in a state of shock and obvious embarrassment for Bhaskar, who is in his first season as coach of the State of which he was captain once.

Known for his genial behaviour on and off the field, Bhaskar, 54, was reportedly targeted with personal insults as Gambhir, 35, used foul and threatening language.

“The unfortunate incident here obviously marks a new low in Delhi cricket and demands a disciplinary inquiry from the DDCA and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as well.

“Is Gambhir not supposed to be a role model being a World Cup winner?” asked a former Delhi star.

The cause of Gambhir’s acerbic outburst was not known, but it was obvious the former India opener, with an aggregate of 14,205 runs from 186 First-Class matches, is peeved at the appointment of Bhaskar ahead of his preferred candidate.

The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) had appointed Ajay Jadeja last season in place of Vijay Dahiya and Gambhir had expressed displeasure.

Eventually Jadeja had withdrawn from the appointment and senior players Rajat Bhatia and Mithun Manhas had shifted to other States.

Gambhir, observers point put, has had a series of spats with senior cricketers, including Chetan Chauhan, Hari Gidwani and Venkat Sundaram, but this episode beats them all.

Gambhir reportedly mocked Bhaskar’s cricket credentials — 95 First-Class matches and an aggregate of 5,443 runs — and did not even spare his son, Ruushil Bhaskar, who played junior cricket for Delhi and Haryana.

Delhi selectors had recently sacked Gambhir as Delhi captain. “We have to look ahead,” was how Nikhil Chopra, one of the selectors, had described the decision to appoint 19-year-old Rishabh Pant captain of a young team.

In a season where emphasis was on blooding youngsters, Delhi failed to qualify for the Ranji Trophy knockout stage but finished winner of the North Zone T20 league.

The team was confident of doing well in the Vijay Hazare tournament here, but things did not work out and it finished fourth in the group.

Known for his ‘fighting’ instincts, Gambhir had played a stellar role in Delhi winning the Ranji Trophy in 2008.

Delhi has not made it to the final since.

“Normally we all shake hands at the end of the last match of the season. This is unprecedented, the senior-most player abusing the senior-most person in the dressing room,” said a Delhi veteran.

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