India domestic news November 8, 2011

Goa drop Asnodkar for two matches

The Goa Cricket Association (GCA) has decided to drop its interim captain Swapnil Asnodkar for two Ranji Trophy matches because he decided to call off an achievable chase against Maharashtra in the first round of the Plate group. The fixture in Povorim ended in a draw, giving the visitors three points because of their first-innings lead and Goa only one.

Ganeshraj Narvekar, son of current GCA president Dayanand Narvekar, took 5 for 48 on Ranji debut to restrict Maharashtra to 91 in their second innings, which left Goa with a target of 130 in about 20 overs. However, Asnodkar, who was leading Goa in the absence of the injured Shadab Jakati, decided to abort the chase after six overs. The hosts were on 18 for 1 at the time, with Asnodkar on 5 and Abhishek Raut on 8.

Asnodkar's decision had gone against what was decided at the team meeting during the innings break - that Goa would attempt to reach the target - and left the team management and the GCA selectors confused. Amit Yadav, a hard-hitting batsman, had also replaced Vaibhav Naik, Asnodkar's regular opening partner, to help kickstart the chase.

"The decision was taken with the coach in the team meeting that we are chasing it," said Prasad Phaterpekar, the GCA secretary. "Accordingly we changed the opening combination. Abhishek Raut came one down. Both [Raut and Asnodkar] were Twenty20 specialists. After six overs, he [Asnodkar] just called off the match on his own as captain."

Patharpekar, who had rushed to the ground after hearing about Narvekar's bowling exploits, was astonished by Asnodkar's decision, as was the Goa selection panel comprising Prashant Kakode, Chandra Tendulkar and Prakash Mayekar. Phaterpekar consulted Goa coach Vivke Kolambkar, who had failed to get a response from Asnodkar. The decision to drop Asnodkar for the games against Assam and Jammu & Kashmir was unanimous.

"We wanted to send a message that this was not in the interests of the team," Phaterpekar said. If Asnodkar does not face further disciplinary action he will be eligible for selection for the home game against Hyderabad starting on November 29. Asnodkar remained unavailable for a comment.

Asnodkar had become popular during the first IPL in 2008, when Shane Warne called him 'the Goa Cannon' because of the aggressive starts he gave Rajasthan Royals. In the team document designed at the beginning of the season, Warne's note to Asnodkar read, "set up the innings with clever stroke play and use your strong wrists. Run like a rabbit between the wickets. Must be one of the shining lights in the field."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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