Less than 24 hours before their tournament-opener in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Baroda has lost the services of their star man Deepak Hooda. The allrounder has withdrawn from the tournament at the last moment after having a heated argument with skipper Krunal Pandya. Baroda Cricket Association had previously named Deepak Hooda as the vice-captain of the team when they announced the 22-member squad last week.
According to local news channel TV9 Gujarati, Krunal Pandya and Deepak Hooda got involved in a heated argument while practicing at the Reliance Stadium in Vadodara ahead of their game against Uttarakhand on Sunday. In his mail written to the BCA, Deepak Hooda has claimed that Krunal abused him while also confirming that he won’t be playing for the team in the upcoming T20 tournament.
Reports have also stated that Krunal had threatened Deepak Hooda during the argument. Reportedly, the allrounder was also under a lot of mental pressure. On Saturday, Baroda announced a trimmed 17-man squad for Sunday’s game and Deepak Hooda is not a part of it. Missing a player of Hooda’s calibre would be a big blow for Baroda .
Having played 46 first-class games, 68 List A games and 123 T20 games, Hooda was one of the most experienced players in the Baroda squad. He was last seen in action in IPL 2020 where he plied his trade for Kings XI Punjab. The right-handed batsman played seven games in the tournament and played a fine unbeaten knock of 62 in the final league game for the team.
On the other hand, Krunal had played for Mumbai Indians and helped the team win a record fifth IPL title. Following the tournament, he had landed in trouble at the Mumbai Airport after his arrival from the UAE. He was detained by the customs officials over suspicion of being in possession of undisclosed gold and valuables. Reports stated that the cricketer arrived in India with valuables worth almost INR 1 crore, which was much above the permissible limits as per Indian laws.
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