Rajasthan will be without the services of former skipper Robin Bist for the forthcoming domestic season, as the veteran confirmed his move to Sikkim on the back of ‘betrayal’ by his old side. Mid-way through the 2019/20 season, Rajasthan stripped Bist of captaincy and dropped him from the side.
Players being at loggerheads with the management and vice-versa is quite a common occurrence in domestic cricket across the world and India is no different. Last season alone, for instance, veteran Ashok Dinda fell out of favour with the Bengal team management, but the bigger story, arguably, was the civil war between Robin Bist and Rajasthan. Bist, who began the 2019/20 Ranji Trophy season as Rajasthan’s skipper, after a string of low scores and unfavourable results, was unceremoniously axed from the side mid-way through the season and was never picked again.
The decision was puzzling, indeed, for Bist, who prior to getting dropped had been a consistent run-scorer for Rajasthan for over a decade, averaging 46 with the bat, was axed after just four games. Expectedly, the said ‘cold decision’ from the management has rubbed the 32-year-old the wrong way. In an interview with TOI, the veteran has revealed that he will be playing for Sikkim in the 2020/21 season and cited Rajasthan’s ‘betrayal’ as the primary reason behind his decision.
"I have received the NOC and I will be playing for Sikkim as a guest player in 2020-21. I had taken this decision with a heavy heart, but I had to do it given the cold shoulder I got from everyone," Robin told TOI.
"I have scored in heaps for the state and won games for them. Instead of backing me I was shown the door and this gesture really disappointed me. I felt betrayed. I know how to score runs. Wasn't I the highest run-getter in the 2018-19 Ranji season? My every contribution was sidelined.”
Interestingly, however, the Rajasthan management chose not to revert back with an aggressive statement. Instead, RCA secretary Mahendra Sharma heaped praise on Bist and wished him luck for the forthcoming domestic season and claimed that he was confident that the 32-year-old will be a great signing for a young Sikkim side.
"Robin has represented the state for a long time and played a crucial part in many of the victories including his contribution in 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons when Rajasthan won the Ranji Trophy twice. His experience will definitely help the young Sikkim side. I wish him all the very best,” RCA secretary Mahendra Sharma said.
Ashok Menaria, who Rajasthan appointed as captain on the back of Bist’s axing, also weighed in on the issue and admitted that losing a player of the veteran’s caliber was a blow to Rajasthan.
"I respect his decision. Definitely it is a huge loss for the team, but now we need to look ahead and start searching for the player who can fill Robin's shoes. The development has created an opportunity for the youngsters," said Menaria.
As things stand, though, the likelihood of a domestic season happening this year looks extremely bleak.