Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Pacer Tushar Deshpande dropped by selection panel despite great show
Mumbai are set to play the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy matches at home from Friday, but they don’t have what would have been another advantage — India ‘A’ speedster Tushar Deshpande.
Deshpande was the second highest wicket-taker (19 wickets) in the same tournament last year, but his name did not figure in the team picked by the Milind Rege-led senior selection committee on Monday. While news of Deshpande’s dropping became a talking point in the city’s cricketing circles, Rege chose not to offer any comment on the decision.
Nayak fails to make cut
It is learnt that there was a heated debate among the selectors (Rege, Sanjay Patil, Pradeep Kasliwal, Sridhar Mandle and Guru Gupte) in the one-hour meeting. Deshpande clocked 140kmph-plus while playing for India ‘A’ in the recent series against their Sri Lankan and South African opponents.
He was not the only performer to be ignored, though. Sujit Nayak, who scored 167 runs and claimed six wickets for NaMo Bandra Blasters in five games during the T20 Mumbai League, failed to make the Mumbai team as well.
Pardeshi gets the nod
Surprisingly, Jaydeep Pardeshi, who managed to score only 14 runs for Eagle Thane Strikers in the T20 tournament, was included. Pacer Mohit Avasthi (PJ Hindu Gymkhana) and left-arm spinner Vinayak Bhoir (Karnatak Sporting Association) were the top wicket-takers with 20 and 19 respectively in the recently concluded Dr HD Kanga Cricket League, but they were not even discussed in the meeting.
Captain Suryakumar Yadav was not present at the selection meeting since he was playing the Deodhar Trophy final for India ‘C’ in Ranchi on Monday. The only experienced pacer in the 15-member squad is India player Dhaval Kulkarni.
“I am very upset. I contacted Milind Rege sir and coach Vinayak Samant to know why I was dropped, but, I still don’t know the reason,” Deshpande told mid-day.
He added: “I was bowling at MCA’s Bandra-Kurla Complex Academy and preparing for this tournament. However, I was shocked when I got the news that I was dropped from the squad. I was the second-highest wicket-taker in India in the Mushtaq Ali Trophy, performed well for India ‘A’ against Sri Lanka ‘A’ [six wickets in three games] and South Africa ‘A’ [one wicket in two games] recently. I bowled with a speed of 142 to 143 kmph in that series, so shouldn’t I be in the Mumbai team on merit,” Deshpande asked.
Meanwhile, Samant said: “We will miss Tushar’s experience. He played for India ‘A’ and was our team’s main wicket-taker in the T20 tournament last year.”
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