Sidhu Had Deserted Team India During 1996 Tour of England as Well: Amarinder

Even former PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar criticised Sidhu for his sudden resignation.

2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Captain Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu. Image used for representational purposes.&nbsp;</p></div>

Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and former Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Sunil Jakhar on Wednesday, 29 September, took a dig at Navjot Singh Sidhu, who resigned from his position of PPCC chief on Tuesday, referring to India's 1996 tour of England.

Sidhu had deserted the team and walked out of the Test series against England after a spat with the then captain Mohammad Azharuddin and returned to India.

A day after calling him unstable, Amarinder, on Wednesday, called Sidhu a "shifty character," who had "deserted the Indian team in 1996 in England," reported NDTV.

"That's what his real character is. I've known this boy since his childhood, and he has been a loner and can never be a team player," Singh was quoted as saying by NDTV. "Sidhu's close links with his cricketer friend Imran Khan (Pakistan Prime Minister) and ISI chief Qamar Javed Bajwa are a serious threat to India's national security".

Jakhar, too, was critical of Sidhu and wrote on Twitter, "It's just not cricket! What stands compromised in this entire 'episode' is the faith reposed in the (outgoing?) PCC President by the Congress leadership. No amount of grandstanding can justify this breach of trust placing his benefactors in a peculiar predicament."

In 1996, Sidhu had walked out of the tour as he thought Azharuddin was constantly abusing him, wrote former BCCI secretary Jaywant Lele in his book. Sidhu later revealed this reason to former India cricketer Mohinder Amarnath, who was a part of the panel to probe the incident.

However, Amarnath had told Sidhu that the swear words used by Azhar were commonly used in Hyderabad and were not meant as disrespect. Amarnath later told the panel to forget the incident as nothing had happened.

Sidhu's walk-out turned out to be a boon for India as both Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly debuted in the match at Lord's, with Ganguly scoring his first Test century and Rahul Dravid missing his first by just five runs.

Sidhu's career spanned 16 years, where he played 51 Test and 136 ODIs for India. He had also scored four successive half-centuries during the 1987 World Cup.

(With inputs from NDTV)

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