U-23 selector 2 months ago, now in Bihar's Vijay Hazare Trophy squad

Ashish Sinha is the son of MLA (Patna Central) Arun Kumar Sinha and had played one Ranji Trophy match for Jharkhand against Rajasthan in 2010.

As Bihar cricket gets ready to make a comeback after 18 years, its team selections have been mired in controversy. (Representative Image)   -  Ranjeet Kumar

Making a comeback after 18 years, Bihar cricket found itself in the midst of a controversy straightaway, with the state body picking an U-23 selector in the senior squad for the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

While there are a number of allegations of conflict of interest with regards to the senior team that will be led by out-of-favour India spinner Pragyan Ojha, the selection of Ashish Sinha has raised quite a few eyebrows.

The 28-year-old Ashish is the son of MLA (Patna Central) Arun Kumar Sinha. He had played one Ranji Trophy match for Jharkhand against Rajasthan in 2010, scoring 16 and 12 in both innings.

However, as per documents in possession of PTI, Ashish was appointed as one of the selectors in June for the U-23 state team trials conducted by the Bihar Cricket Association (BCA).

On June 8 this year, he performed the duties of an U-23 zonal selector for districts Katihar, Araria, Bhagalpur, Kishangunj, Purnea, Banka and Jamui.

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When Ashish was contacted, he admitted he was indeed doing U-23 selection duties and is now getting ready to play in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. “Yes, I was made the selector but I have now quit the post. Also I was selector for a brief period and there was no official appointment letter. I became a selector on request of BCA,” Ashish told PTI on Thursday.

Ashish vehemently denied allegations that his selection in the state senior team is due to his father's influence. “When I played Ranji Trophy for Jharkhand, my father was even then an MLA. So how does it matter? I am still playing active club cricket. Obviously with Bihar coming back into domestic cricket, I wanted to play for the senior team. We should all be proud that Bihar will again play Ranji Trophy rather than try to malign players,” Ashish said.

Bihar Cricket Association president Gopal Bohra also defended Ashish’s selection, downplaying allegations of corruption and nepotism.

“It was a temporary selection committee and Ashish was a part of that. He is a good cricketer. Also when we are coming back in the Ranji Trophy after nearly 18 years, we need some experience apart from our captain Pragyan Ojha. Ashish has experience of playing Ranji Trophy (1 match) and is a senior player. So he was picked,” Bohra reasoned.

“And talking about being a politician’s son, these are baseless allegations. We know that there are thousands of aspirants for all age group and senior teams but only 15 can play. A lot of people may feel heartbroken and make unnecessary allegations,” Bohra said.

Another allegation of conflict of interest is directed against a player called Ishan Ravi, whose father Ravi Sinha has been the chairman of the BCA’s tours and fixtures committee.

“Ravi Sinha was the chairman of a committee that has already been dissolved as we have adopted the new constitution and accordingly we will form new sub-committees. Yes, Ishan is son of Ravi Sinha but he doesn’t have any influence in selection matters so Conflict of Interest does not arise,” Bohra said.

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