Former India batsman Ajay Jadeja has quit as coach of the Delhi Ranji Trophy team, and has said that his "opinions or inputs don't matter" to the Delhi and District Cricket Association. Jadeja was appointed during Delhi's controversy-filled run-up to the 2015-16 domestic season and did not travel with the side for their first Ranji game against Rajasthan in Jaipur. Reports suggest that former Delhi coach Vijay Dahiya is one of the contenders to replace Jadeja.
DDCA president Sneh Prakash Bansal had told PTI that Jadeja missed the game because his son was unwell and denied speculation that his absence was due to Amit Bhandari's appointment as assistant coach. Jadeja, too, denied his absence was related to Bhandari's appointment, but said he was disappointed with the manner in which DDCA had appointed a few members of the support staff.
"I have read in the newspapers that the reason I have not travelled with the team is because Amit Bhandari has been appointed assistant coach," Jadeja told the Hindu. "I would like to clarify that this is not the reason. It is sad to see that once again, players are being used to settle personal scores in the DDCA.
"Now, it seems the DDCA is back to working on its own and does not need the services of anyone appointed by the government nominees or otherwise. No one within the organisation seems to have a problem with this way of functioning.
"Obviously, my opinion or inputs don't matter to DDCA. I wish Delhi cricket the best."
Jadeja was appointed coach by nominees of the Delhi government, who stepped in after factions within the DDCA named three different probable squads for the Ranji Trophy. That was one of the issues in a pre-season camp mired in controversy, with nobody to oversee the preliminary nets at Feroz Shah Kotla and no certainty over who was running the team. Jadeja said he accepted the position to try and ensure that players would not be disadvantaged by the controversies in the DDCA.
"I am extremely thankful to all the people instrumental in my getting involved with Delhi cricket. As I understood the developments, the government nominees had got involved after the fiasco of the three different lists of probables being proposed and the different factions claiming to be in control," he said. "My purpose, I thought, was to see that cricket could carry on and the players would not be disadvantaged. That was the only reason for I being involved. I don't belong to any faction in the DDCA."
Delhi's problems were further compounded by selection controversies in the last couple of weeks. Ishant Sharma was left out of the squad because he didn't answer DDCA's call or text, and was selected for the first game a day later, even though he had stated he would be unavailable for the match. Allrounder Rajat Bhatia, who has represented the side for more than a decade, was excluded. Earlier, there was no clarity on whether Gautam Gambhir or Unmukt Chand would lead the side. Senior players like Virender Sehwag and Mithun Manhas had transferred to other teams ahead of the season.