India’s U19 World Cup hero Manjot Kalra’s fall from grace has continued as he has now been suspended from playing Ranji Trophy. The left-handed batsman looked set for a bright future after scoring a sensational match-winning century in the final of the 2018 U19 World Cup against Australia. However, unlike his U19 teammates Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, and others, Manjot Kalra has not really managed to live up to the expectations.
His already troubled career has now taken yet another blow. The outgoing DDCA Ombudsman has suspended the youngster for an alleged age-fraud during his U16 and U19 days. The outgoing Ombudsman Justice (Retired) Badr Durrez Ahmed passed an order on his final day, preventing Kalra from playing age-group cricket for two years but more importantly denying him a chance to play Ranji Trophy for this season.
Last week, Kalra played for Delhi U23 against Bengal and scored 80. He was in line to replace senior opener Shikhar Dhawan in the Ranji squad. But with the ombudsman passing his order, the youngster will not be eligible to play.
“I find it surprising that Manjot Kalra has been punished for the same offence that Nitish Rana is also allegedly guilty of. We couldn’t pick Manjot as it was Ombudsman’s order. He passed it at 11:30 pm at night, a day before he relinquished office. Now that’s a bit bizarre,” DDCA general secretary Vinod Tihara was quoted as saying by India Today.
Tihara further expressed his surprise over how Kalra can be prevented from playing senior level cricket for age-fraud. He also said that Kalra’s parents can appeal for a change in the verdict when new ombudsman takes charge.
“He has been prevented from playing club matches also. Now his parents will have to appeal for a change of order in front of new Ombudsman. Till then DDCA can’t pick him for Ranji Trophy. We are helpless,” Tihara said.
Reprieve for Nitish Rana
Delhi and Kolkata Knight Riders star Nitish Rana, meanwhile, has been let off for the time being. The officials are looking for more documents to prove that the batsman fudged his age at the junior level. The former Ombudsman has asked DDCA to enquire from his school DAV Centenary, Narela and seek specific birth-certificate related documents and place before next hearing.
Another former U19 cricketer, Shivam Mavi is also under scanner. However, his case has been referred to the BCCI since he plays his domestic cricket for Uttar Pradesh. The youngster also plays for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL.
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