Mumbai, Dec 07:Having been overlooked by the Punjab selectors for the upcoming Vijay Hazare Trophy, medium-pacer Sandeep Sharma has decided to switch to Chandigarh.
The 28-year-old fast bowler secured a no-objection certificate from his parent state, Punjab, and will play his first match for his new team in the Vijay Hazare Trophy against Kerala (Elite Group D) at the MadhavRaoScindia Cricket Ground, Rajkot, on Wednesday.
Sharma, talking to The Indian Express, says he decided to make the switch because his office (Bharat Petroleum) is in Chandigarh. “I moved to Chandigarh because my office is here. It was just a personal decision,” says Sharma, who has played 2 T20Is for India against Zimbabwe in 2015.
However, this paper understands that there was no guarantee he would be selected for the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the Ranji Trophy.
He was not part of the team for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.“He wanted to play all the three formats, but in the pace department, he was fourth in the pecking order after SiddharthKaul, Arshdeep Singh, and Baltej Singh,” a PCA official says.
Since making his senior debut for Punjab in the 2011-12 season, the wiry pacer has played 44 first-class, 49 List A matches, and 48 T20s matches. Chandigarh got affiliation a couple of years ago and are playing in the Elite Group in the white-ball tournaments.
However, in the Ranji Trophy, they are in the Plate Division. “My focus is on white-ball cricket for now, and Chandigarh are playing with Elite teams in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Yes, in the Ranji Trophy, they will be in the Plate Group, but this is a group of talented players, and I am sure we will earn the promotion this season,” says Sharma. He is known to swing the ball both ways and played a pivotal role in India’s 2012 Under-19 World Cup triumph in Australia.
He bagged 12 wickets in the tournament. His 39 wickets in the first three Indian Premier League (IPL) seasons for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) earned him an India cap for a two-match series against Zimbabwe in 2015. But, thereafter, he had injury issues. A stress fracture followed by shoulder injury kept him out of the game for 18 months.