Former India wicket-keeper Farokh Engineer and ex-COA member Diana Edulji on Wednesday had a difference of opinion in public with the ex-women’s team captain venting out her anger at the octogenarian for questioning her cricketing credentials.
The controversial Engineer made a passing reference about the credentials of the disbanded CoA, of which Edulji was a member, stating that the committee was a “waste of time”.
During the Dilip Sardesai memorial lecture here, Edulji, who was an invitee, took the opportunity to get back at her “Parsi” friend, who was also present at the event.
“I just heard Farukh saying Parsis don’t have a dirty bone in their body. I would like to know, you spoke a lot about the current selectors, in that statement you passed a snide remark about me. I would like to tell you, I played 30 Test matches too, so that is not little cricket I played. You said she (Edulji) has hardly played any cricket…,” Edulji, who played 20 Tests for India, said.
Engineer had earlier questioned the working of the CoA, saying the committee was a complete waste of time and money.
“I speak my mind. I said something that the CoA was a waste of time and I meant that. I don’t think much came out of it (CoA) really and the money that was paid or spent — (in) crores — could have been better utilised grassroot cricket in the country,” he said earlier.
“There was nothing personal against you (Diana Edulji). About the selectors, I spoke earlier and there was a reason for that comment,” he added.
Later, Edulji said that the CoA, chaired by former CAG Vinod Rai, was formed with a purpose.
“CoA was brought in with a purpose. We covered a lot of ground, we tried to improve the standard of cricket, the infrastructure. The players have benefited a lot and that’s why the performance of the teams — both men and women — have been outstanding. I think we could have done more,” she said.
“I am glad that it’s now run by a cricketer. That’s what Justice (RM) Lodha (panel) wanted, to let the cricketers have a say. Let’s hope that they do well.”
Meanwhile, Engineer, who played 46 Tests for India, said struggling wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant is “talented” but has a flawed technique.
“I had a chat with Rishabh Pant. He came to me at Old Trafford during the World Cup and we had a long chat. I wish I had him with me for 2-3 net sessions and he would have been much better wicket-keeper. What can a fielding coach tell Rishabh Pant about wicket-keeping?
“Everyone is there to criticise the young man (Pant) and there is more pressure on him. He is now scared to hold the ball thinking in case he drops a catch. He is an extremely talented wicket-keeper but his technique is flawed and gets up too soon,” he said.
During the lecture, Engineer recalled his association with Sardesai and his cricketing time with the famous India spin quartet of EAS Prasanna, S Venkataraghavan, B S Chandrasekhar and Bishan Singh Bedi.
Former India players Lalchand Rajput, Raju Kulkarni, Sanjay Manjrekar and BCCI CEO Rahul Johri among others were present during the event.