The Saurashtra Cricket Association’s Under-23 team, fresh from a successful match in the C.K. Nayudu Tournament, faced an unexpected twist as their journey from Chandigarh to Rajkot took an unusual turn. The routine inspection of their cargo, including personal kits, uncovered an astonishing discovery: concealed within the kits of five players were 27 bottles of liquor and two cases of beer.
After the victorious match, the team, eager to return home, boarded the flight with their belongings. However, customs officials at Chandigarh Airport flagged discrepancies during the cargo inspection, leading to an investigation by the cargo division. The scrutiny revealed that alcoholic beverages were surreptitiously tucked away in the luggage of five players—Prasham Rajdev, Samarth Gajjar, Rakshit Mehta, Parshwaraj Rana, and Smitraj Jhalani.
While the majority of the players’ belongings were promptly cleared for transit, the kits of the five players involved were detained due to the unexpected find. The customs authorities notified the Saurashtra Cricket Association (ASCA) about the situation, prompting swift action to ensure protocol adherence and accountability.
To manage the fallout, the detained luggage was arranged to be transported to Rajkot separately, marking a challenging moment for the five players and ASCA. The incident has stirred controversy and put immense pressure on ASCA authorities to navigate the delicate balance between familial affiliations within the association and enforcing discipline among players.
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Reports indicate that the families of two players involved hold influential positions within ASCA, adding a layer of complexity to the situation. The association now faces the task of making decisive decisions to uphold integrity and demonstrate a commitment to discipline in the sport.
In response to the discovery, Himanshu Shah, the secretary of the Saurashtra Cricket Association, remained unavailable for immediate comment, with his office citing the delegation of logistics matters to other personnel.
The controversy has raised allegations that senior players might have influenced junior members to transport the alcohol stash for personal consumption. ASCA, now at the center of the storm, will need to navigate these challenges in the coming days to address the issue, maintain its integrity, and uphold the spirit of the game.
The Under-23 cricket team eventually landed at the Rajkot Hirasar Airport, bringing the unexpected chapter to a temporary close. However, the incident underscores the importance of vigilance in cargo inspections, preventing the potential transportation of alcohol to Rajkot along with the cricket kits.