Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar has sensationally alleged that a “deep-set bias” is not allowing Mumbai players to represent Team India. Writing in his column for Mid-Day, Gavaskar cited Siddhesh Lad’s example to back his claim, stating that the Mumbai batsman is not getting the chance to play even for India A despite his impressive exploits in domestic arena.
Well, one cannot disagree with Gavaskar regarding Lad’s performance. In 44 first-class games, Lad averages an impressive 43.39 with six hundreds. His performance has been so impressive that he has earned the nickname of Mumbai’s ‘crisis-man’.
Sunil Gavaskar compared Lad’s situation with that of former Mumbai batsman Amol Muzumdar. The former batsman was one of the few unlucky players who could never make it to the national team despite making runs steadily in domestic cricket. Muzumdar scored more than 11,000 First-Class runs with the help of 30 centuries and 60 fifties.
“There’s another Mumbai lad who invariably scores when his team is in trouble, and that is Siddhesh Lad, but despite his consistency he never finds himself even in the ‘A’ teams as the bias against Mumbai players is so deep- set,” Gavaskar wrote. “So, the one tour and one or two caps players from other states keep getting picked.
“Let’s hope that he (Siddhesh) doesn’t suffer the same fate as Amol Muzumdar who scored a mountain of runs in first-class cricket but never got the India cap. It’s not the individual, but Indian cricket that suffered with such biased and myopic decisions. Can 2018- 19 see a change? We shall soon see,” added Sunil Gavaskar.
The legendary batsman also criticised BCCI’s decision to send an India A team to New Zealand midway through the Ranji Trophy season. Gavaskar stated that the move undermined the value of country’s premier first-class competition.
“With almost 35 top players out overseas on India and India ‘A’ duty, the national championship for the Ranji Trophy is considerably diluted. This is once again an indication of the misconception that the India team is Indian cricket continues,” the former India opener wrote.