Tamil Nadu coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar has admitted to being aware of M Vijay's injury that kept him out of the Vijay Hazare Trophy fixture against Mumbai in Chennai on Thursday. The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) had subsequently left Vijay out of the squad for the remaining games after he had "failed to report" to the ground citing "shoulder pain".
The TNCA had also stated in a press release that the state body, selection committee and the team physio were unaware of Vijay's injury.
Kanitkar, however, acknowledged the possibility of a "communication gap", and said Vijay had informed him of his unavailability on the morning of the match. He also said the team wasn't caught unawares. "Vijay had told me on the morning of the match that he wouldn't be able to play," reports quoted Kanitkar as saying at the end of the Tamil Nadu-Madhya Pradesh match on Friday. "I think there was some communication gap with the association. I knew about it before coming to the ground. I also already knew who to replace him with. It wasn't a surprise because we were prepared for it.
"Even during the Ranji Trophy match against Tripura earlier this season, he opted out on the morning of the match with a neck sprain. But on that occasion he came to the ground to get it treated. I know Vijay has always played with commitment for the state."
A top TNCA official, however, confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that the association's decision to replace Vijay with young batsman Pradosh Ranjan Paul remained unchanged and that "the matter was closed." The TNCA official had said on Friday that Vijay had informed the Tamil Nadu coach at about 7.30am on the day of the match. The TNCA was upset by Vijay's last-minute withdrawal and had generally been unhappy with his "attitude" over a period of time.
Although the TNCA official had confirmed there wasn't any disciplinary action initiated against Vijay, he said that going forward national players wouldn't be allowed to pick and choose matches once they had confirmed their availability for a tournament. He further said the issue was likely to come up for discussion at an executive committee meeting of the TNCA.
Meanwhile, an injury-ridden Tamil Nadu side suffered another blow with captain Vijay Shankar ruled out of the Andhra game on Sunday. Offspinner Malolan Rangarajan has been added to the squad, which will now be captained by B Aparajith. Lead spinner R Ashwin, who picked up seven wickets from four games, is also set to miss the game. The official clarified Ashwin had sought permission of the TNCA in advance, and the association, in consultation with the selectors, granted his request.
Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. @scarletrun