Bhandari sustained head and ear injuries and was taken to Sant Paramanand Hospital at Civil Lines by his colleague Sukhvinder Singh. The goons fled before the cops could reach the spot.
“We are looking into the matter and a case will be registered after recording the statement of the victim,” Nupur Prasad, Deputy Commissioner of Police (north) said.
Delhi & Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) president Rajat Sharma told PTI that guilty will not be spared.
“We are trying to procure all details of the incident. As far as I have come to know, it is regarding one disgruntled player, who didn’t make it to the probables list for the National U-23 tournament.
“The SHO from the local police station has reached the Stephen’s ground and I have personally spoken to the Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik. The guilty will not go unpunished. I promise exemplary action against whoever is found involved in this misdeed. We will register an FIR,” Sharma said.
Sharma, who went to meet Bhandari at the hospital said: “He is very shaken and it is natural. The doctors have advised that he should be kept under observation for 24 hours as a precautionary measure.”
“The goons were pressurising him to select a player, who had failed to get into the U-23 team on merit. Amit claimed that one man also threatened him with a revolver.”
Former India and Delhi cricketers Gautam Gambhir and Bishan Singh Bedi came out strongly against the incident.
“Disgusted to see this happen right in the heart of the Capital. This can’t slip under the carpet and I will personally ensure it doesn’t. To begin with I am calling for a life ban from all cricket for the players who orchestrated this atack post his non-selection,” Gambhir wrote on Twitter.
While Bedi wrote: “Absolutely unpardonable…these hooligans must be brought to book ASAP to bring sanity in selection proceedings…no violence can be tolerated to push for selection, no matter how deserving…DDCA wake up & act kindly..cricket fraternity demands swft official stand..!!!”
Delhi’s senior team manager Shankar Saini narrated the incident.
“I was having my meal along with a colleague inside the tent and Bhandari along with other selectors and senior team coach Mithun Manhas was watching the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy probables play a trial match.
“A couple of men first came and went up to Bhandari. There were heated exchanges between Bhandari and the two men. They left and before we could gather our thoughts, suddenly some 15 men armed with hockey sticks, rods and cycle chains came charging,” Saini said.
“When the other senior team players attending the trials along with us rushed to save Bhandari, they started threatening us and one of them said, ‘Don’t get into this or else we will shoot you’.”
“They attacked Bhandari with hockey sticks and rods and he sustained head injuries,” the former Delhi seamer added.
When asked who could be behind the attack, Saini said, “I was not there when these two guys came and spoke with Bhandari. He is obviously rattled and once he gives his statement to the police, we will get to know more.”
Delhi cricket has always been mired in corruption charges and allegations of dubious selections at the various age-group levels have also surfaced time and again.