Former Ranji players launches attack on HPCA, Anurag Thakur

Shimla: Former Ranji players and other cricketers from the state on Monday launched a frontal attack on the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) and its president Anurag Thakur, alleging that his "company always watched the interests of non-Himachali players".

Led by former Ranji captain Vijay Sain, over 100 former and present cricketers under the banner of their newly-formed body "Cricketers Welfare Forum", met Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in the morning to appreciate the bold stand of the government to clean the mess in the HPCA and demanded for fair and transparent elections to a new cricket body.

"There was no reason for euphoria over cricket infrastructure in the state, where there was no effort to promote the game at the grass-root level," Sain told reporters after the meeting.

Sain was accompanied by Anil Sain (another Ranji team captain and former Vice President of HPCA), Rahul Panta (also a Ranji player) and senior players Naveen Tanwar, R R Roohi, Kailash Aggarwal, Yashwardhan Chauhan, Keny Chauhan and Vijay Sain.

Sain said the "credit for giving funds for the stadium in the state goes to the BCCI.

"On its part, the HPCA has grossly failed to bring Himachali players to the forefront. For the past over decade, the inter-district cricket matches are also not being held so that the real sports talent could come forward," he said.

Sain named the non-Himachalis players turning up for Himachal in Ranji Trophy matches.

"They are Vikram Jeet Malik, Waquar Ahmed, Bipul Sharma, Abhinav Bali, Prashant Chopra and Karamveer Singh," he said.

Sain also questioned the HPCA president that why he created a new category of "life member" and inducted 25 in number in the HPCA with voting right, negating the democratic character of the state cricket body and said that "eight of there life members are from Jalandhar and seven from Delhi and Haryana".

He further alleged that in the year 2000, Thakur was chairman of the Ranji Trophy selection committee and he himself became captain of the team.

"This is unheard of in any sport in the world. His contribution in the said match was zero."

Sain said in July 2001, Thakur nominated his father Prem Kumar Dhumal, then the chief minister, as the chief patron of the
HPCA with voting rights. This again was unprecedented and never heard of, he added.

"In 2002, Anurag brought his cousin Vikram Rathore, the then captain of Punjab Ranji team to lead Himachal in the Ranji Trophy, citing that this will improve the standing of the team in the national championship. But the net result of this was that the team got relegated from the elite group to plate group, which is lowest in standing," he said.

The forum alleged that 24 players with fake school certificates/fake Himachali bonafide certificates are playing cricket in the state.

"A case has already been filed in the court against Vikramjit Malik and Kuldeep Diwan in this regrd," he added.

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