Patna saw an unusual start to the Ranji Trophy season with two teams, each claiming to represent Bihar, turned up for the game against Mumbai at the Moin-ul-Haq Stadium. As the in-fighting between two factions of Bihar Cricket Association (BCA) spilled over to the ground, there were heated exchanges and a minor scuffle between officials at the start of the game. Eventually, it was the intervention of the local police that got the Bihar-Mumbai season-opener to start at around 1 pm.
Of the two teams that reached the ground early in the morning, the one picked by the BCA president Rakesh Tiwary played the game. The other that had the blessings of secretary Amit Kumar was left high and dry. Not a single cricketer was named in both the squads. Both Tiwary and Kumar, told The Indian Express, that theirs was the bonafide team.
“We have picked the team on merit and that is the right team. You see the talent that is coming from Bihar. We have a cricketer (Sakib Hussain), who is picked in the IPL. We have a 12-year-old prodigy making his debut in the game. The other is being picked by the secretary who is suspended, so it can’t be the real team,” he told The Indian Express.
Secretary Amit challenged Tiwary’s suspension claims. “First things first: I won the election, and I am an official secretary of the BCA. You can’t suspend a secretary. Secondly, how can a president select a team? Have you ever seen BCCI president Roger Binny announcing the squad? You will always see the signature of Secretary Jay Shah,” he said.
Later in the day, BCA , in a press release, blamed suspended secretary Amit for coming up with a fake team and attacking an official at the gate. “There was a life-threatening attack on BCA’s OSD Manoj Kumar by those involved in the fake team. The miscreants have been identified and action will be taken against them,” the BCA release said.
BCA president Tiwary also blamed Aditya Verma, the original petitioner in the 2013 spot-fixing case, for the chaos at the stadium. “His only job is to ruin Bihar’s image. He is creating a nuisance because his son was not picked. He tries to put pressure on us, but we have never listened to him as we pick teams according to merit,” Tiwary told The Indian Express.
However, secretary Amit countered the claim. “He is blaming Aditya Verma, but why was he silent when he was on his side? BCA is the only association where the secretary has no power,” he said.
As for Verma, he called this a fight between the president and secretary. “This is the fight between both of them. My son has done well in the trials. If my son was picked in one of the squads, is it my fault? He (Tiwary) is after me because I am questioning their corruption, they blame it on me,” he said.
The unsavory start to the day didn’t impact the home. Bihar, after winning the toss, reduced the mighty Mumbai to 235/9. The main wicket taker for Bihar was veteran pacer Veer Pratap Singh who had figures of 4/32.