Gowtham dropped from India A for 'insulting' Duleep Trophy

K. Gowtham makes an appeal PTI

K Gowtham, the Karnataka allrounder, has been dropped from the India A squad for the two four-day fixtures against New Zealand A for disciplinary reasons amounting to "gross insult to the system". He has been replaced by Karn Sharma, the Vidarbha legspinner, in the 15-man squad for the two matches, which start from September 23 in Vijayawada.

Gowtham, who bagged a five-for against India Green in the Duleep Trophy opener in Lucknow on September 8, fell ill on the penultimate day of the match and couldn't take the field on the final day for India Red. He subsequently skipped the second fixture and produced a medical certificate that stated he had typhoid. However, on September 12, he was in Mysore, playing for Belagavi Panthers in the ongoing Karnataka Premier League, where he is the highest-paid player in the league at INR 7.2 lakhs.

The BCCI is likely to initiate a disciplinary inquiry into the matter, pending which he will not be considered for India A selection. "Gowtham opted out of the Duleep Trophy game during the first match and even produced a medical certificate that he was unwell. Two days later, he was found playing in the Karnataka Premier League. This is gross insult to the system," BCCI CEO Rahul Johri was quoted as saying by The Times of India. "A player can't take a national-level tournament for granted like this. The board is looking into this incident and till the enquiry is over, he will not be picked for India A team."

Gowtham was part of the India A team that toured South Africa in August after being flown in as a late replacement for Jayant Yadav, who returned home following the death of his father. Gowtham picked four wickets in the second four-day game.

Karn, Gowtham's replacement, is currently the leading wicket-taker in the Duleep Trophy, with 15 wickets from two matches, including two five-fors, for India Red. The call-up means he will miss the Duleep Trophy final starting September 25 in Lucknow.